New CTA Green Line station slated for Cermak in South Loop

Green Line station built to support McCormick Place, Motor Row; city hopes it opens by 2014

10/14/2011 6:49 PM

By Ben Meyerson

22 Comments - Add Your Comment

Updated 10/19/2011 6:00 p.m.

After years of lobbying from South Loop residents who say they need another CTA stop, the Green Line is slated to get a new station on Cermak Road near McCormick Place.

The Chicago Department of Transportation said it’ll build the station for the CTA, in part with money from a new tax on downtown parking lots proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“It’s a station that’s intended to serve a growing residential and business area, as well as McCormick Place,” transportation department spokesman Brian Steele said Friday. “There’s been a big jump in residential population in the area, and this would sit just two blocks from McCormick Place’s western entrance.”

The station would be a long platform that stretches from Cermak to 23rd Street, Steele said. It would tentatively have entrances on the north and south sides of Cermak, as well as one just north of 23rd.

The station is estimated to cost about $50 million, Steele said, and would be funded by tax increment financing cash as well as the mayor’s new tax on downtown parkers.

Right now, the Green Line travels 23 blocks without a stop, from Roosevelt Road in the South Loop to 35th Street in Bronzeville. As population has built up in the South Loop, residents have increasingly clamored for more transportation options.

But Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) says he’d rather see a new station built at 18th Street on the Green Line first, rather than at Cermak. That station would be closer to the center of population in the South Loop.

While he’s spent a lot of time and energy lately trying to get more development down near Cermak — in particular, turning South Michigan Avenue into an entertainment district between Cermak and I-55 — it’s going to be a while until that area gets more settled, he said. There’s also already a station at Cermak on the Red Line, just two blocks away.

“I still want the 18th Street station, where the citizens are,” Fioretti said. “I think the first place to go is to serve the people in the neighborhood.”

However, he said that the CTA had recently told him there were issues with putting a station at 18th Street, namely, that there wasn’t enough track for the train to accelerate and stop on either side of a potential platform.

Gail Rutkowski, new president of the Greater South Loop Association, said that while she knows neighbors wanted a station further north, it would still be great to have a new station anywhere in the South Loop.

“I know 18th was the one neighbors got behind, and I think it would have been the better first choice,” she said. “But I can’t imagine a downside. I think it’d be good for the community to get more access.”

It could also help spur more development around McCormick Place, a huge plus as conventions consider leaving the city.

“There’s such a desperate need for hotels there,” Rutkowski said. “If you’re going to be building them down there, I think the Green Line would certainly help.”

Officials with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which oversees McCormick Place and Navy Pier, have been cagey in the past about building up the area around Motor Row, and some in the neighborhood have accused them of trying to stymie growth outside of the convention center’s official walls.

But Jim Reilly, trustee of the authority, came out firmly in favor of the new station — as well as an express bus that would serve Navy Pier — in a statement emailed to Chicago Journal this week.

“These are crucial advances that will bring tremendous business and revenue to both Navy Pier and McCormick Place, and Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to using congestion funding to pay for this growth is an outstanding decision that will have great positive effects on the surrounding community and the entire city,” Reilly said in the statement. “By supporting this industry now the city is looking at more business and more revenue tomorrow.”

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By Chris from South Loop
Posted: 10/25/2012 5:25 PM

18th Street Green line is a MUST. Nothing but vacant land around that area, it would spur development all along wabash and state and 18th. On the north side, there are stops every 4 blocks (Armitage, Fullerton, Diversey, Belmont, Addison etc.) Get one at 18th street, it would only help the south side.

By Andrew from Skokie
Posted: 01/18/2012 10:16 PM

I think 18th would be a better spot, as it would pick up where the Red Line does not provide service, and give access to an area that may grow faster than Chinatown. Leavitt/Damen/Western are also some good ideas. And maybe, in the future a 26th street station to compliment 18th. Just sayin\'.

By Andrew from Skokie
Posted: 01/18/2012 10:16 PM

I think 18th would be a better spot, as it would pick up where the Red Line does not provide service, and give access to an area that may grow faster than Chinatown. Leavitt/Damen/Western are also some good ideas. And maybe, in the future a 26th street station to compliment 18th. Just sayin'.

By Tony from Albany Park
Posted: 01/11/2012 11:19 PM

How could it cost 50 million dollars on one station built with concrete and tile and drab materials. Compare that to what kind of house you cam build with 50 million and you now know the difference. Something is wrong with the amount of money the city pays for CTA construction. Thats way too much money for not a lot of stuff.

By George from near west side
Posted: 10/27/2011 11:55 AM

I live in the area by the Lake Street. Green line stations should be adding on Western and Damen (on Lake Street) because those streets are connection for the bus. Most el stops are connection to a bus and Levitt doesn't have that. Also, the meetings I had attended, people want el stops on Western and Damen on the Green Line.

By anannymoose from Near West Side
Posted: 10/26/2011 11:55 AM

By "too residential" I mean "not even poor people want stairs to the El in their back yard." The housing is simply too close to the intersection on the South side of Lake to have access. Trust me. I am intimate with the area. Besides, name 1 El stop in the city (or burbs) that isn't at a major intersection for access to local business and other public transportation.

By Brian from EGP
Posted: 10/25/2011 4:51 PM

anannymoose: I didn't say low-income people don't deserve an El stop. I believe that they do... that's why I advocate a stop at Levitt. I simply said I doubt the El stop would get built because lower-income residents don't have the political swagger to make it happen. Furthermore, "too residential" is a reason to not built an El stop? Then who exactly are El stops designed to serve other than residents?

By anannymoose from Near West Side
Posted: 10/25/2011 10:49 AM

What, Brian from EGP--low- and very-low income residents don't deserve an El stop? Dude--I'd argue that they need it more than I do. I have a car, and I'm young and healthy enough to walk to Ashland. While Leavitt may be in the middle, it's too residential and too far from the UC to make sense. There's more empty/industrial space at Damen.

By Stephen Reginald from South Loop
Posted: 10/24/2011 3:50 PM

Funny how some folks, like \"1550 Indiana Park View from South Loop\" can\'t stay on topic, but turn these comments into screeds against people and organizations they don\'t like. And then never have the nerve to sign their real names. It\'s not like we don\'t know who and where these comments are coming from.

By Brian from EGP
Posted: 10/24/2011 1:35 PM

I've always thought that the place for a green line stop between California and Ashland is Levitt. It's equidistant from both and putting an entrance on the east west side would give good access from Western Ave and Damen/United Center area. I doubt it will happen though because most of the residences between western and damen is mixed-income or public housing.

By Anannymoose from Near West Side
Posted: 10/24/2011 1:19 PM

Actually, Same, the neighborhood has requested the stop be at Damen for proximity to the United Center. Fioretti, however, has decided we don't need it.

By Same from Near West Side
Posted: 10/24/2011 12:47 PM

What needs to be done for the CTA to add a Green Line station on Western Avenue (Western and Lake). Any future discussions on that?

By Lee from South Loop
Posted: 10/24/2011 11:51 AM

I think 26th & State St would also be a great place for a new CTA stop. The 23 blocks from Roosevelt RD to 35th St could use more than 1 new station. If we were talking about the 2600 blk on the north side, this would be a no-brainer. The land is available, and there are plenty of residents that live east and south of 2th Street. CTA, quit ignoring the South Side!

By 1550 Indiana Park View from South Loop
Posted: 10/19/2011 10:47 AM

To TP who asked \"why take unfair shot at GSLA which has always had the entire community in mind?\" U R joking right? Should we forget deeds, that include wedging, blocking, and attacking the community on most issues. U R aware that the GSLA is co-leading the push to turn the park at 16th & Indiana into a parking lot, failing to disclose relevant or accurate facts, as one of the GSLA Board members is involved with the project and land plan on the other side, further spreading the Pixi dust?

By Brian
Posted: 10/18/2011 1:23 PM

I am stoked to hear that this station is being built, but for the sake of existing neighborhood residents, why not a station with a long platform between Cermak and Cullerton instead? The Cullerton station house would be on the S. side of said street, serving neighborhood residents, with the main Cermak entrance (on the N. side of said street) serving area businesses and still providing access to McCormick Pl. Plus add an auxiliary entrance on 21st. What does everyone think of this idea?

By TP from South Loop
Posted: 10/18/2011 8:52 AM

18th street is clearly the people's choice, but if CTA says that the cluster of turns and tracks makes it not feasible (or twice as expensive), then why would anyone imply that helping McCormack Place, and surrounding businesses, is bad? It's disgraceful that a station isn't serrving them to and from the loop. Also, why take an unfair shot at GSLA which has always had the entire community in mind and has always supported a station at 18th?

By Allen from South Loop
Posted: 10/17/2011 9:22 PM

I hope Fioretti has tons of silent plans.. that is how things are getting done and always has -not just in the Chicago, but everywhere in the world.

By mike
Posted: 10/17/2011 6:23 PM

Maybe Fioretti has some sort of silent interest with the land located closer to Cermak and 23rd. I don't put anything past our elected officials...

By JP from PD
Posted: 10/17/2011 4:26 PM

Another point, you have Roosevelt stations, who wants to backtrack to Cermak from S. Loop just to head into the loop? You would be better hopping a bus time and convenience wise. Not sure why GSLA person would favor Cermak over 18th if they had interests of residents (as opposed to business) in mind.

By JP from PD
Posted: 10/17/2011 4:23 PM

Crain's indicated station would be built with a combination of CTA and TIF funds. If TIF funds are to be used wouldn't the Alderman have to sign off? 18th is much better for the community. There is greater density in and around 18th street as compared to Cermak, plus 18th is useful for the city in terms of lakefront access and Soldier Field events. You also have the police station a block away. 18th and Wabash is an eyesore build it and hope for infill there as well.

By Brian from EGP
Posted: 10/17/2011 11:39 AM

Agreed. 18th Street seems to make much more sense. The Red/Green line stops should be more staggered as they run parallel on South Side. Connect with 18th Street Pink Line stop and you have the infastructure for a Circle Line.

By Steve
Posted: 10/15/2011 1:34 PM

I agree with Fioretti, he should push to get it moved to 18th street. If needed they can build one at Cermak in the future but right now it would benefit the community much more if it was at 18th street.