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The Chicago Central Area Action Plan (On-topic)

Posted by EastSideRider on Thu Apr 2 21:17:43 2009

Well, checking Chicago-L.org yesterday, I seen a link they had to an article by the Chicago Sun-Times, about a 15.5 BILLION dollar plan (The Chicago Central Area Action Plan) to bring improvements to downtown Chicago, slated to be constructed through 2020 (around the time Chicago goes for the 2016 Olympics, which they say these plans would be done with or without it). The article is below.

City plans $15.5B in downtown projects

March 31, 2009
BY DAVID ROEDER AND FRAN SPIELMAN droeder@suntimes.com fspielman@suntimes.com

A draft of Chicago's plans for the city's central area through 2020 calls for $15.5 billion in public works, mostly for transportation improvements, and asserts the projects are attainable with or without the 2016 Olympics.

The projects include a West Loop transit hub beneath Clinton Street with an estimated price tag of almost $6 billion. The hub would connect Metra and CTA rail and bus lines with a proposed Carroll Street rail line, itself a $260 million item, near the north bank of the Chicago River.

Other big-ticket items include $1.5 billion for CTA express train service to the airports and a $500 million for a landscaped roof over the Kennedy Expy. from Monroe to Washington around which new office buildings could be added. A $377 million plan foresees moving part of Lake Shore Drive east from Navy Pier to the Oak Street curve, creating space for bike and pedestrian paths.

The city's share of the total $15.5 billion cost should be in the range of $6 billion to $8 billion, the report said. Most of the money would come from tax-increment financing, a property tax source that diverts money from regular government expenses. The rest would have to be drawn from state and federal aid or corporate deals, it said.

The authors, principally officials with city planning agencies or consultants working for them, said the proposed expenses aren't out of line with recent budgets for capital projects.

Called the Chicago Central Area Action Plan, the draft has been posted on the Web site of the city's Zoning and Land Use Planning Department. Its appearance this year observes the centennial of Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago.

The report will be discussed Thursday at an open meeting. It is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Erie Cafe, 536 W. Erie.


I don't get how they were able to do this, with the CTA having bad money problems....anyway, here are some of the plans mentioned in the Chapter 2: Transportation PDF on the article page:

1) The Clinton St Subway (Priced at 3 Billion) would branch off the Red Line south of North/Clyborn Station, run along the riverfront on the west side of the river, cross the river south of Grand Av, run down Clinton St, and merge unto the Red Line north of Cermak/Chinatown Station (It would merge north of 18 St and the Midway Line flyover). Stops seem to include:

Division St
Chicago Av
Grand Av
Chicago Union Station (With connections to the new transitway, bicycle station, and of course, Metra and Amtrak)
Clinton/Congress (Transfer to the current Blue Line station, I assume)
Roosevelt Road (?)

2) The 4 Transitways seem to be a mini Light Rail system, that goes around Downtown, along Clinton (would be above the the Clinton St Subway line), Monroe St, the Lakefront (with a spur heading further south than Monroe), and Carroll Av.

3) The West Loop Transportation Center at Chicago Union Station would connect the Transitway loop, Clinton St Subway, Bicycle Station, Metra, Amtrak, and other pedestrian services. Saw no sign that Ogilvie Transportation Center or Clinton Station on the Green and Pink lines would be connected

4) Also included are plans for In-fill stations on existing CTA 'L' lines:

-Morgan (Green/Pink Lines on Lake St, I mentioned this a while back, and is most likely to be built out of the In-fills; timeline of 2008-2012)
-Division (Brown/Purple Lines on the North Side 'L', timeline of 2012-2016)
-Clark/18 (Orange Line, and may be provisioned to be used for possible future Circle Line service; timeline of 2016-2020)
-Cermak Road or 18 St (Green Line, on the South Side 'L"; timeline of 2012-2016)

5) Express Rail service to O'Hare and Midway Airports along the Blue and Orange Lines, respectively

6) The CREATE program, which would remove at-grade rail crossings and certain at-grade rail crossings around Chicago(?). This would allow more expanded or reliable service to the southern suburbs (Could go hand in hand with the Southeast service mentioned below, or the Rock Island line)

Other plans included in the PDF are some we know of already:

CTA Signal and Capacity Upgrades
Metra Capacity Upgrades
CTA Extensions for the Red, Orange, and Yellow Lines
CTA Circle Line
Metra Southeast Line from Chicago LaSalle Station


Below are links to the article above, and the Transportation PDF where I got this information, respectively. There are other PDFs on the article's page about the the plan as well, and are also worth the look, IMO.



Thanks for looking, and let the conversation begin! :-)


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