Details emerge on Cermak Road Green Line station
'Aggressive timeline' targeting open by end of 2014; will be paid for with $50 million in TIF cash
03/23/2012 6:21 PM
The Green Line’s $50 million new stop at Cermak Road should be open by the end of 2014, officials from the CTA and the city of Chicago said at a meeting Thursday night. And a stop at 18th Street is off the table for now, mostly due to issues with Orange Line trains.
Officials from the CTA discussed the station’s details at a community meeting in Columbia College’s 623 S. Wabash Ave. building, explaining just why a stop at 18th isn’t feasible right now.
The main problem is that a station at 18th would sit just next to the point in the CTA system where the Orange Line splits off to the southwest of the Green Line, according to the CTA’s manager of planning, Joe Iacobucci. Putting a new stop in at 18th would require a completely new switching mechanism — including requiring an employee to run what’s now an automatic switch.
“The new switch would have to be manned,” Iacobucci said at the meeting. “It would cause additional complications with a system that runs pretty smoothly right now.”
Additionally, since there used to be a Green Line station at Cermak, the CTA has the rights to enough land around the proposed site to build a new station without having to buy any land. At 18th, the CTA would have to buy property in order to build a new station — the right of way is at least 10 feet too narrow to build a station there now, Iacobucci said.
The city is aiming to accelerate the project, having it done by 2014. They’re looking for contractors to design the station right now, and hope to have a design on the books by the end of the year.
The new station will be built with $50 million taken entirely out of the Near South tax increment financing district, and it’s no coincidence that the TIF is set to expire by the end of 2014.
The new stop will have three entrances, one on either side of Cermak and one further south at 23rd Street, which would be intended for conventioneers and workers heading to McCormick Place and, hopefully, what would become the Motor Row entertainment district.
Benet Haller, director of planning and urban design with the city’s Department of Housing and Economic Development, said the train stop would be key to Motor Row’s growth.
“If you look at Uptown, or the area around Wrigleyville, those are entertainment districts, and a very important part of their success as an entertainment district is that they’re directly next to an ‘L’ station,” Haller said. “If you’re out there drinking a lot, being able to get on the ‘L’ and head home and not drive or do something more dangerous is a positive benefit.”