CTA Plans To Shutdown Entire Southside Redline Service / by

Yes you read it right, but I'm sure you're thinking about all the wrong reasons as to why this is happening. The Chicago Transit Authority has plans on shutting down the entire Southbound end of the redline L train next May for 5 long months. 

Reason being is to rebuild the entire southside's redline train tracks. Consider it an upgrade with few breakdowns, smoother rides and less delayed trains. Officials plan to operate free shuttle bus service for the entire 5 month period and operate red line trains via the green line tracks. Read more below.

South Side riders of the CTA’s Red Line L are in for a commuting nightmare a year from now, when the CTA plans to shut down the south leg of the line for five months.

Starting next May, the agency will completely rebuild the Red Line from Cermak Road to 95th Street, a deteriorating, 10-mile stretch of L tracks built in 1969.

Officials hope to alleviate the $425 million reconstruction headache for commuters with shuttle buses that will take riders from major stations along the route to the alternative Green Line. 

“This will obviously create significant impacts for commuters,” CTA spokesman Brian Steele said Monday.

“Basically, everything within the rail right-of-way will be replaced — the tracks, the third rail, the rail ties, the ballast and drainage systems,” Steele said.

About 40 percent of that 43-year-old stretch is so badly deteriorated that L trains have to slow there to as little as 15 mile an hour, according to the CTA.

CTA officials said that, when the work is done, the one-way ride through the south end of the Red Line should be 10 minutes faster.

“When we’re done, it will be a brand new railroad, a much smoother ride and more reliable service, with fewer breakdowns and delays,” Steele said.

But in the meantime, it’s going to be a rough ride ahead for commuters who are used to riding the Red Line in the leg south of the Loop to 95th Street, most of that along the median of the Dan Ryan Expressway.

The CTA plans to operate free shuttle buses to get riders from the 69th Street, 79th Street, 87th Street and 95th Street stations to the Garfield Boulevard station on the Green Line — with free Green Line entry there for shuttle riders.

It also plans to operate Red Line trains on Green Line tracks between 63rd Street and Ashland Avenue and the Roosevelt Road stop. From Roosevelt, northbound Red Line trains will return to the normal Red Line tracks, continuing all the way to the north terminal at Howard Street on the Evanston border.

The agency will also offer a 50-cent discount on numerous South Side bus routes that connect with the Green Line. 

CTA officials said they decided to completely shut down the Dan Ryan leg of the Red Line because the alternative that they were considering — doing the work on weekends — would have meant the work would take four years to complete. They decided that was too long to continue operating with severe slowdowns.

They said it’s cheaper this way, too, costing the agency $75 million less than doing the work over four years of weekends.

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), chairman of the City Council’s Black Caucus, agreed.
“Shutting the Red Line down for five months is better than the alternative of shutting it down for four or five years each weekend,” Brookins said. “That’s the only other choice.

“Yes, there’s an inconvenience,” Brookins said. “But the long-lasting effect of fixing slow zones and upgrading stations will outweigh the temporary inconvenences.”

Some commuters riding the southbound Red Line to 95th were not happy hearing the news.
"I feel upset because I have to catch the train downtown every week. That will be an inconvenience," said Raylonda Carter, 29.  "I wouldn't call it being unfair, I think they are doing what they need to do."

Carter said she will have to catch the State Street bus as an alternative.

Allen Dickerson said he feels closing the line "is going to hurt a lot of people."

"A lot of people depend on the Red Line to get back and forth to work," he said.

Dickerson and his friend Jerry Sparks said they appreciated shuttle service being provided to the Green Line, but did not think that was enough. "The bus takes longer," Sparks said. "Whatever kind of work they're doing, they can find a better way to do it."

Conchetta Davis, 22, said she will be "stranded" by the closing the line.

"Shutting down the Red Line would be horrible because I work way in Blue Island," Davis said while boarding a northbound train at 95th with her two small daughters. "I will be stranded. I won't have a way to work or to drop my kids off at day care."

Katherine Smith, who rides the Red Line Monday through Friday, asked why was the South Side was getting different treatment than the North Side. "If they shut the Red Line down, I am going to be late everyday and that's not fair, " she said. "The buses make you late! This is just crazy."

But another rider, who would only identify herself as Bobbie, said she was "glad" about the project.

"Shut it down," she said. "It takes forever, it's a mess. It goes slow as hell, so I'm glad they're doing something about it. Close it down, fix it so people can get to where they're going."

Lucinda Myles, 33, works in the food industry and rides the line five days a week.

"The L starts moving slow once you leave the Cermak station going south, so the line needs repairs," she said. "It's going to be a pain but in the end, service will hopefully be better. I will figure out another way to commute."

Chicago Tribune & Suntimes

Ouch! I know it sounds like it sucks, but honestly, it's needed. If you're not from Chicago, then you have no idea how slow, raggedy and bumpy the train rides are past Cermak road. Yeah ti does suck for the south side because that train is their gateway to the downtown area.

The good residents of that part of the town have to suffer, which sucks. They will just have to leave earlier than before and find alternate routes to work. 

I have to say though, had this been a "northern" project, the service would not have been shut down. The southbound trains services a hand full of African Americans. I hate playing the race card, but I feel that's another reason why it was so easy for them to shut it down for 5 months. But again, it's needed.

Another thing is that it will keep the ratched and ghetto kids out of downtown for a while. They've been terrorizing the loop ever since they found out how to get down there. I mean there are TONS of them, it's like they travel in packs..like wolves and hyenas.

They also cause a lot of trouble down there. They fight inside of restaurants and stores, they play with traffic in the streets, I mean it's wild. But that shut down, should keep them at bay for a little while. hopefully they'll find another place to terrorize. Women, control you're kids, don't have them if you can't tame them.

The trains, tracks and stations are definitely due for an upgrade. Even though I don't ride that train, I'm sure waiting 5 months would be a whole lot better than waiting 4 years to complete the 10 mile project. What do you think about this situation? Should they be shutting down the entire south leg of the red line for a 5 month renovation?