Some Red Line riders on the North Side will soon be faced with longer trips to their trains thanks to rolling closures at seven stations on the north end of the CTA's busiest line. Those stations are targeted for repairs and upgrades that will stretch through the rest of the year.
The Granville station will close for six weeks starting June 1 for improvements like platform repairs, new lighting and doors, the beginning of an $86 million project Mayor Rahm Emanuel said will extend the life of the century-old stations while the city tries to secure the money for a much more expensive Red Line modernization project.
The work will be focused on stations in the Rogers Park, Edgewater and Uptown neighborhoods, and CTA President Forrest Claypool said in some cases shuttle buses will take passengers to the next stop. The Morse station will close for repairs starting June 29, Thorndale on Aug. 17 and Argyle on Aug. 24.
The Berwyn station will shut its doors for six weeks starting Oct. 5, followed by the Lawrence stop on Oct. 14 and the Jarvis station on Nov. 9, according to the CTA.
Here are some details from the CTA Web site on what is planned for each of those 7 stations.
"With progress comes a little bit of pain. You can't have one without the other," Claypool said of the inconvenience to riders.
"One of the advantages of the stations at the north is they're pretty close together as well," he said.
Given periodic talk of closing the Jarvis Station permanently, Ald. Joe Moore, 49th, said he's happy to see the investment. "You're not going to spend this kind of money to make improvements, just to shut it down a few years later," Moore said after a news conference at a theater near the Morse stop.
Today's announcement is part of a $1 billion package of Red Line repairs Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn first talked about last fall, including a rehab of the Wilson station and work to reduce the number of slow zones on the line, which runs from Chicago's northern edge to 95th Street on the South Side.
Quinn and Emanuel were joined by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and all said they sympathize with U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush's concerns that a major rail project in the Englewood neighborhood might not include enough minorities in construction jobs.
The "Englewood Flyover" is designed to ease delays at a rail bottleneck that sees heavy Metra commuter and freight train traffic. The contract has not been awarded for the project, but Rush recently told theChicago Sun-Times he will seek to stop the work if Metra doesn't ensure enough minority firms get work.
While he stopped short of calling for the flyover project to be halted, Durbin said it is common for elected officials to try to persuade winning contractors to include minorities and local companies.
"The contractor winning work is going to have to choose subcontractors and employees and so forth," Durbin said. "That is when the elected officials usually step into the process, sit down with these contractors and try to get some agreement as to people that they'll be hiring."
Speaking to reporters after the news conference, Durbin also said he talked recently to Sen. Mark Kirk, who he expects will make a full recovery from a January stroke.
Kirk, who is undergoing treatment at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, did not seem to have any speech impediment or cognitive impairment when the two men spoke a couple weeks ago, Durbin said. "I have zero doubt" Kirk will return to the Senate, he said.
Kirk will make a public appearance when he's ready, Durbin said. "Give him a break. the man is working his way back through rehabilitation," he said. "He wants some time to get the strength, and get back to where he can meet the press."
Quinn told reporters he expects the state to win an appeal of the ruling this week that struck down an Illinois law making it easier for the state to charge sales tax on online purchases.
The governor also said he's still hopeful a deal can be reached in Springfield to increase the state cigarette tax, despite House Speaker Michael Madigan's recent statement that he doesn't think the governor's plan to hike the tax by $1 a pack has the votes to pass.
"We ought to use (the cigarette tax increase) to get revenue for Medicaid, and also prevent bad things from happening in the first place," Quinn said, pointing to research that fewer people smoke as the price of cigarettes goes up.
Construction on improvements at another Red Line stop, at Loyola University, is also scheduled to begin this fall, according to CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski. That improvement project, announced in the summer of 2011, is separate from the projects announced today; according to figures released in 2011, it is being funded by a $7.5 million federal grant and $2 million from Loyola.
Twitter: @ChicagoBreakingCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun