CTA could announce Blue Line extension decision by fall
Updated: February 26, 2013 10:34AM
OAK PARK — CTA officials hope to determine by fall if extending the Blue Line to Mannheim Road is feasible.
Janine Farzin, a representative of the Chicago Transit Authority, said the transportation agency hopes to determine within six to eight months if the extension would work.
The extension would push the western end of the Blue Line to Mannheim from the current end of the line in Forest Park.
“We have come to the game a bit late,” Farzin admitted, compared to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s years of work thus far on the proposed Eisenhower Expressway expansion.
Farzin noted that the Blue Line feasibility study gives the CTA an opportunity to assess current conditions, plan for modernization for the near term (10 years) and long term (out to 2040) and allows early outreach and comment opportunity for those affected by the project.
“The goal of the CTA is for people to have a satisfying ride on the Blue Line,” Farzin said.
She said determining station access needs and design modernization steps are key to improving the Blue Line ride for passengers. Farzin said in the CTA’s study there will be an emphasis on improving livability in Oak Park and the area.
“We know that a station between two expressways is not ideal,” Farzin said.
The 55-year-old Blue Line/I-290 facility was competed in 1958 and was the first integrated transit/highway facility in the country.
Farzin said there is a desire to coordinate major investments between IDOT and the CTA so that a combined alternative can be advanced. The CTA Feasibility/Vision Study will examine alternatives in IDOT’s I-290 Phase I Study.
The coordinated project will take a multi-modal look at transportation, in hopes of improving mobility. It also is aimed at saving money and reducing customer inconvenience during maintenance and construction.
Local, regional and state officials note that there are broader funding opportunities with a coordinated project than isolated projects.
Rick Kumer, a former village trustee, said he was happy to see the CTA at the table now..
“I am pleased that plans include the CTA,” said the representative of Citizens for Aggressive Transportation.
Oak Park Village President David Pope agreed, saying it is important that the transit agency be part of any Eisenhower revamp.
“If you are going to rebuild the roadway and change how you move traffic, you have to let in the CTA.”