Plans Contain Valuable Input from Community Partners; Process of Community Engagement Will Continue Until Project Starts in 2013 and Throughout Project
CHICAGO - In anticipation of the start of next year's Red Line South project, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) held meetings with various community and neighborhood groups including local chambers of commerce, block clubs, faith-based groups and other organizations to answer their questions, listen to their concerns and suggestions. This feedback has been instrumental for CTA as it now begins implementing the plan for the reconstruction project.
“Having an open and productive dialogue with our community partners is crucial to ensuring this project proceeds as smoothly as possible,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. "Feedback from these community meetings is helping shape and improve the CTA’s plans for the Red Line South reconstruction project in 2013."
The meetings thus far have focused on the entire range of project considerations, from shuttle bus service and traffic management to security issues. The CTA has made several changes and additions to its project plans based on feedback and ideas generated at these community meetings. One such example is a shuttle bus that will run in the area of the Cermak-Chinatown stop.
“I am pleased that CTA has reached out to our community by hosting both a community meeting and job fair for residents that live near the Cermak-Chinatown Red Line stop,” said Bernie Wong, President of the Chinese American Service League (CASL). “Our community’s input has resulted in several changes to the Red Line South reconstruction plan and we appreciate the CTA’s responsiveness to our concerns.”
Community meetings will continue throughout the remainder of 2012, providing project updates and the opportunity for additional feedback about the project as it moves forward.
“We have been pleasantly surprised at the significant outreach that CTA has done regarding the Red Line South project, not only to the community-at-large, but to the small business community,” said Melinda Kelly, Executive Director of the Chatham Business Association (CBA). “CBA is encouraged by the serious commitment CTA has shown to getting the word out through its presence at community meetings and the four meet-and-greet sessions it has held between disadvantaged business enterprise subcontractors and potential prime contractors.”
The CTA will host two more job fairs for part-time bus operators needed for the project: August 28 at the National Teachers Academy and September 15 at Kennedy-King College, as well as three upcoming meet-and-greet sessions for contractors interested in the station work component of the project.
Beginning in May 2013, the Red Line South project will completely rebuild the 10 miles of the line from just north of Cermak-Chinatown to 95th Street. The project will provide a brand-new railroad—offering faster commutes, a smoother ride and more reliable service.
To complete the project in the shortest amount of time and at the lowest cost, the south Red Line will completely close for five months. During the closure, CTA is planning extensive alternative service, including free shuttle buses from closed stations south of 63rd Street, Red Line trains using Green Line tracks, and significantly expanded bus service on existing bus routes.
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