Attention south Red Line riders: CTA officials issued a reminder today that there are just 87 days left of normal service before you will need to make alternate plans for five months.
On May 19, the CTA is planning to cut service to the nine southern-most stations of the Red Line to begin a $425 million reconstruction project. The project, announced last June, is the largest reconstruction project in CTA history.
On Thursday, CTA chairman Terry Peterson and CTA President Forrest Claypool unveiled alternative route options for South Side commuters. Among the variety of options, riders will be able to hop on Red Line trains at the Green Line at Garfield free of charge.
Starting in May, the Green Line tracks from Ashland/63rd to Roosevelt will carry Red Line trains, Claypool said. There also will be free shuttle buses from closed Red Line stations at 69th Street, 79th Street, 87th Street and 95th Street to the Garfield Green Line station, Claypool said.
Officials estimate the foot traffic at the Garfield Green Line station will go from its current 1,300 commuters a day to nearly 13,000 a day starting May 19.
Peterson, Claypool, members of the Chicago Police Department, Pace, Metra and others met Thursday morning at the Garfield Green Line station to discuss the alternate transit options and additional community outreach efforts to take place during construction.
Discounted bus rides south of 63rd Street and extended and supplemental bus service along certain bus routes are also a part of the CTA’s plan during the construction period, anticipated to wrap up in October.
The project is to completely rebuild the tracks and improve stations along the 10-mile stretch of the Red Line. When completed this fall, officials estimate the construction project will shave 20 minutes off a round trip ride from 95th Street to Roosevelt stations.
Chicago Police officers normally assigned to patrol on the Red Line’s south end will be redeployed to the bus staging areas as well as to the Garfield Green Line station, officials said Thursday.
Baseball fans who normally took the Red Line to the 35th Street/Sox station adjacent to U.S. Cellular Field can now take the Green Line to 35th Street/Bronzeville or take a Metra train, Peterson said.
Mike Connelly, vice president of planning for CTA, said the Green Line will continue to run to Cottage Grove during the construction period. Green Line riders who need to continue to travel to 63rd Street/Ashland can transfer at Cottage Grove to a Red Line train.
CTA launched an expanded project website Thursday, redlinesouth.com, and a corresponding Twitter account, @redlinesouth, that riders can follow for news and information on the project, Claypool said.
Claypool said the Red Line is the “backbone of the CTA” and serves one-third of all CTA rail customers.
“It will be a smoother, more comfortable ride without the bumps and shakes that they’re accustomed to today,” Claypool said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun