With Sunday’s shutdown of the Southside Red Line fast approaching, commuters like Leslie Carter are scrambling for alternatives.
“What I’m probably going to have to do is take that 34 bus and then wait for the 29 bus, because that bus takes me to downtown and State Street.”
Talk to folks on the busy 95th red Line street station, and you hear the same concern – people trying to figure out their best travel alternative. The Redline south from Chinatown to 95th street shuts down Sunday morning. The Chicago Transit Authority will take the next five months to rebuild the 40-year-old track.
Southside Alderman, Anthony Beale is worried about the toll this will take on people. But he believes the inconvenience will be worth it five months from now, when riders enjoy faster, more comfortable and reliable service with nine, vastly upgraded Red Line stations. And it lays the groundwork for more improvements.
“So we’re going to reconstruct the Red Line from Cermak to 95th street, “Beale says. “And that’s going to lay the foundation for the Red Line extension to 130th street which was promised to my residents 40 years ago on the Southside.”
In the meantime, to minimize confusion, Red Line “ambassadors” are stationed at strategic points across the system to direct you or answer questions. The effort is designed to soften the impact on 80,000 riders who use the southern portion of the Red Line every day.
Even Mayor Rahm Emanuel is lending a hand in the information blitz, passing out pamphlets today with alternate shuttle bus or train information.
The CTA will operate free, 24 hour shuttle bus service to help riders bypass the construction zone, transit officials say. And commuters will be funneled, for no charge, onto Green Line trains at Garfield.
For more information, log on to CTA’s special web page for Red Line commuters – www.redlinesouth.com