Wednesday, August 12, 2009

CTA board approves proposed rail extension projects

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The Chicago Transit Authority Board voted to adopt the locally preferred alternatives proposed for the Red, Orange and Yellow Line extension projects. Following the steps required by the Federal Transit Administration in order to apply for funding, the CTA studied all of the potential options available for each of the projects, and has narrowed it down to one viable option for each proposed extension.

 

The agency conducted technical analyses and outreach to elected officials, stakeholders and members of the public, before arriving at the locally preferred alternative for each project.

 

"Moving forward through this process puts CTA in position to compete for significant new federal funding," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole L. Brown. "The completion of these Alternatives Analysis studies and adopting the locally preferred alternatives is a critical step in taking these three important expansion projects from concept to reality."

 

In 2006, the CTA began the FTA New Starts process to apply for funds to extend the Red, Orange and Yellow Lines. The FTA New Starts program requires conceptual transit project proposals to proceed through a formal process of planning, design and construction.

 

The CTA recommends an elevated rail extension southeast from the current 95th Street Red Line station to 130th Street. The extension includes 5.3 new miles of rapid transit, four additional stations - at 103rd, 111th, 115th and 130th Streets - with new railcars, Park & Ride and bus terminal facilities at each station.

 

The route runs from the current 95th Street Red Line station to 99th Street in the I-57 median, then turning south and southeast along or adjacent to the Union Pacific right-of-way until 120th Street, continuing at-grade to 130th Street.

 

The CTA recommends a rail extension from the current Midway Orange Line station to approximately 7600 S. Cicero Avenue. The extension includes 2.3 new miles of rapid transit, one additional station at the end of the line, provision for future construction of a station at 67th Street, new railcars, a new bus terminal facility and parking structure.

 

The route runs from the current Midway Orange Line station along the Belt Railway Company right-of-way from 59th Street to 69th Street, crossing the Belt Railway Clearing Yard and ending on Cicero Avenue.

 

The CTA recommends a single-track elevated rail extension from the current Skokie Yellow Line station to Old Orchard Road. This extension includes 1.6 new miles of rapid transit, one additional station at Old Orchard Road, new railcars, a new bus terminal facility and a parking structure that includes space for commuters and full replacement of existing spaces at Niles North High School impacted by the transit facility.

 

The route runs from the current Skokie Yellow Line station following the Union Pacific right-of-way over Dempster Street, Gross Point Road, Church Street and Golf Road and East along the Edens Expressway right-of-way and will end at a double-track station between the Edens Expressway and Niles North High School south of Old Orchard Road.

 

The FTA process consists of five formal steps: Alternatives Analysis, Environmental Impact Statement, Preliminary Engineering, Final Design and Construction. Completing these steps gives the CTA permission to seek funding for these projects; it does not appropriate the funds. The announcement marks the completion of the Alternatives Analysis phase. The CTA will now move onto the Environmental Impact Statement step of the FTA process. There will be additional opportunities for public involvement in subsequent steps of the FTA process.

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