Lawrence: Uptown Residents Upset Over Potential El Stop Closing

Lawrence Red Line entrance (Photo by James Mazurek)

The Lawrence stop—in the heart of the Uptown area—serviced more than a million riders
in 2010, according to the CTAs end-of-year report. (Photo by James Mazurek)

Lawrence Stop IconBy James Mazurek
The Red Line Project
Posted: Monday, Jan. 31, 2011

The Chicago Transit Authority has  discussed plans that would consider closing three stops on the Red Line --Lawrence, Jarvis and Thorndale -- as well as two stops on the Purple Line in Evanston.

In the Uptown community, which includes the Lawrence stop, some residents said they are upset about the idea of removing stops, even though the project is being pitched as a consolidation rather than an elimination.

Saed Ghazi, 52, lives a few blocks from the Lawrence stop and uses it daily.

“Instead of fixing [the Lawrence stop] like they said they would, they are closing it,” Ghazi said. “Doesn't make a lot of sense.”

If the plan goes through—according to CTA representatives—traffic affected by the potential closed stops will instead be rerouted to other nearby locations. With the Lawrence stop, the nearest alternative stops are Argyle, two blocks north, and Wilson, two blocks south.

View Alternative Stops in a larger map

With two of Chicago’s most popular concert and show venues—the Aragon and the Riviera—only a few hundred feet from the Lawrence stop, increased traffic and even more crowded street parking are also on residents’ minds.

“The Aragon is here," Ghazi said. "Why this [El stop] instead of Argyle? They are in equally bad shape.” 

Aragon front facade
The Aragon is only steps from the Lawrence stop. Many residents 
said they wonder how the potential stop closing will affect both street
traffic and local parking. (Photo by James Mazurek)

Statistically and geographically, however, the data supports the CTAs stance. According to the CTAs end-of-year rider report for 2010, even though the Red Line saw a 4.3 percent overall increase of traffic throughout the year, the Lawrence stop showed only a 2.8 percent increase at 1.1 million riders while the Wilson stop posted a 7.9 percent increase with just more than 1.9 million riders. 

Other Uptown residents said they are already thinking of other stops they could use if the Lawrence stop closes.

Jodie Tillman, 26, a photography student at the Columbia College Chicago Loop campus, uses the Lawrence stop several times a week to commute to and from school.

“Do you know how bad [the Wilson stop] is at night? Someone just got shot there," Tillman said. "No way I'm using it."

Despite the plans, the CTA is still accepting written feedback from users on the Red and Purple Modernization Project through Feb. 18.

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