Morse:  CTA Shares North Red and Purple Modernization Project

Morse CTA Photo (Photo by Vi Nguyen)

CTA and FTA officials used visuals of proposed changes to the Red Line
at a public forum Jan. 26 near the Morse stop in Rogers Park (Photo by Vi Nguyen)

Morse Stop IconBy Vi Nguyen
The Red Line Project

Posted: Monday, Jan. 31, 2011

The Chicago Transit Authority and Federal Transit Authority are proposing to make major changes to the Red and Purple Line El tracks in stations in a project called North Red and Purple Modernization Project.

Such improvements will re-construct existing transit stations, and bring track systems and old infrastructure to a state of good repair. In addition, help to reduce travel times, and provide access for people with disabilities.

Based on grave consideration by the CTA and FTA, the purpose and need for the Modernization Project will benefit riders in the long run, but the thought of having to close at least 5 el stations got frequent riders saying, “no, but thanks anyway.”

Commuter John Ryan Silvia showed up at a scoping meeting in Rogers Park that was hosted by the CTA and FTA.

“A lot of people depend on public transportation, including myself,” said Silvia, who was one of the many concern CTA riders at the New Field Primary School. “I want to know what’s going on with this so-called project.” 

Morse CTA Crowd Photo (Photo by Vi Nguyen)
The CTA and FTA ended its final rounds of scoping meetings on Jan. 28. Scoping meetings are  “open-houses” that allow the public to review the proposed changes and offer feedback.

The North Red and Purple Modernization and its six different alternative will be prepared by a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement, which is also known as EIS. The EIS will also examine the environmental issues surrounding the project, such as the location, the land use impacts, and the cumulative effects.

Six different alternatives were presented, and left Elizabeth Ro, a frequent CTA rider confused.

“There’s just so many presentation boards on display,” Ro said. “This is my first time going to one of these CTA meetings. I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed right now.”

Each alternative presents a different construction scenario—one alternative keeps the current status quo, while another will provide new transfer stations. Concerned riders are upset with the Modernization 4-Track Alternative and Modernization 2-Track Underground Alternative, which could leave up to 5 el stations closed—Red Line faces losing Lawrence, Thorndale, and Jarvis; while the Purple Line faces losing South Boulevard and Foster.  

Silvia is not excited about the proposed alternatives. One proposal calls for closing Red Line stops at Lawrence, Thorndale and Jarvis.

“I would be enraged if I found out that I have to walk six more blocks to another stop, take a bus, just to make another 2-3 transfers to get to my destination,” he said.

It can take up to five or 10 years before neighborhood riders begin to see any sort of construction work, according to the CTA. The CTA did not respond to two requests on funding information.

For now, riders who want to voice their concern on the North Red and Purple Modernization Project can submit their comments via e-mail to by Feb. 18, post comments below and vote in our poll.

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