Sunday, June 22, 2008

Great Greg Hinz analysis of Block 37 Superstation Fiasco

Veteran reporter Greg Hinz, who broke the Crain's Chicago Business story that the CTA was mothballing its "superstation" under Block 37 after dumping $300 million into it's construction, has come up with a great analysis of four possible scenarios for the site's future including building two bypasses at Damen and Jefferson Park to be able to reach O'Hare in 21 minutes ($400 million), hand the whole thing over to Metra and have the trains arrive at Union Station (also $400 million), or use Metra right of way to create an express service that would allow both travelers and outlying CTA commuters to reach the loop in that magical minutes. To me, this is the most attractive of alternatives, as it addresses the issue of how escalating travel times, linked both to sprawl and a precipitous deterioration in the quality of CTA service, has made commuting to the Loop less and less attractive. In it's pre-CTA days, Chicago rail lines ran express trains and local trains just for this purpose, and was able to attract and carry larger passenger loads. The downside? Hinz estimates the price tag at $1.3 billion. Just charge it to the Olympics account.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

That dude didn't 'break' the story. It was a CTA press release.

Lynn Becker said...

Greg broke this story a week before the CTA made its announcement.

pc said...

From an architectural perspective... where could a passing track possibly *go* at the famously hemmed-in Damen station? The initial plans showed it on the north side of the station. That means bulldozing pretty much the entire block containing City Soles, Subterranean, Estelle's, Skewerz, and Starbucks.

The study was tilted in the Blue Line alignment's favor by erroneously assuming that buying land in the middle of Wicker Park was just as expensive as buying land in Schiller Park.