Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cermak Green Line Station to Open in 2014

We've been covering talks about a new El stop somewhere South of Roosevelt for sometime now and that's why we were excited to hear about some new news last week in the Chicago Sun-Times:

The new $50 million Green Line station would stretch from 23rd to Cermak between
existing stations at Roosevelt and 35th.

It would serve McCormick Place, the newly-designated Motor Row entertainment district and a residential population almost certain to grow with more “transit-oriented” development.

The station would have direct transfer connections to westbound buses and three entrance points to serve different sets of riders: neighborhood residents; Motor Row patrons and conventioneers walking two blocks over from McCormick Place.

Construction is expected to begin in 2013 and be completed in late 2014, using congestion fee funding and money from the surrounding tax-increment-financing (TIF) district.

This is welcomed news for many of us who think that the area south of 16th isn't served very well by the El (people living down there have to take a bus or hike it to one of the red line stops at Roosevelt or Chinatown).

On many fronts this appears to be a no-brainer as outlined in the points above. From the city's standpoint the McCormick Place angle has to be alluring. From a local residents perspective, the likelihood of this drumming up additional development around the stop is also enticing.

However, an article in the Chicago Journal last week discusses Alderman Fioretti's desire to have a new stop at 18th instead of Cermak:

But Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) says he’d rather see a new station built at 18th Street on the Green Line first, rather than at Cermak. That station would be closer to the center of population in the South Loop.

While he’s spent a lot of time and energy lately trying to get more development down near Cermak — particularly, turning South Michigan Avenue into an entertainment district between Cermak and I-55 — it’s going to be a while until that area gets more
settled, he said. There’s also already a station at Cermak on the Red Line, just
two blocks away.

“I still want the 18th Street station, where the citizens are,” Fioretti said. “I think the first place to go is to serve the people in the neighborhood.”

However, he said that the CTA had recently told him there were issues with putting a station at 18th Street, namely that there wasn’t enough track for the train to accelerate and stop on either side of a potential platform.

This is the first time we've heard about technical issues at 18th and if that's the case, it might be hard to press forward. Regardless, the 18th street El stop would seem more logical for a couple other reasons. One, it could serve both the Orange and Green Lines (which might mean more people frequenting South Loop and our neighborhood businesses) and it also would provide a better way of accessing Soldier Field and the lake from the South (by walking across the footbridge at 18th).

Anyway you look at it, this is generally good news for the Sloop. An El stop South of Roosevelt will only help the are develop.

It's fun to debate. So what do you prefer...Cermak or 18th?


Anonymous said...

I gain everything by having a Cermak stop (ridiculous access, property value, renting ease, development..etc) but we also need an 18th stop - even if it does not provide access to the other lines -a Green Line is fine. PERIOD.

Anonymous said...

Where on 18th st would it be?

Anonymous said...

18th Street! Do it!

Anonymous said...

No NO 18th street stop. Do you want rift raft to have direct access into the South Loop. Your property values will go down. Make an unsafe area even more unsafe. Aldermann doens't understand the implications. The city is broke stop building things and conserve the city. Green Line goes to the West Side....what yuppies in the SLOOP would even ride that far????

Anonymous said...

More interested in a stop for the orange line @ 18th. When traveling to Midway, I have to go North to Roosevelt or west to Halsted. The el in general completely bypasses much of the south loop

Anonymous said...

Re: the riff raff - a stop at 18th will be very safe. The reason Roosevelt has some of this activity is bc they get off & need to head West on the bus. There is no bus heading West on 18th. With the good comes the bad - even the one at Cermak will create some riff raff, but as you head West - you have Chinatown, some Industry & then Pilsen and it heads a bit further West to an Oak Park mall. West on Roosevelt is MUCH WORSE then where the bus on Cermak leads to.

Anonymous said...

This is not a debate, it will be Cermak. The city needs to realize something, anything, out of all the other investment in McCormick Place. 18th Street doesn't do that. Cermak does.

This is enormous for property values, and the overall development of the Cermak-18th Street cooridor. Booming!

Anonymous said...

Was there once a Cermack stop in the past? If so there might be existing infrastructure that can reduce cost.

Either way, the is extremely important for the Cermack corridor, access to McCormick Place and making the Music Row a success.

18th Street is just not a good ides, and the cost for a station here would be enormous (complicated logistics)

Anonymous said...

this gets built if the City Council approves Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan for a $2-a-day “congestion fee” on downtown parkers. ..its right in the Trib story. Your subject header seems to assume it did ..a big assumption

wendigo said...

who cares about L trains? We need more places to eat!!

Anonymous said...

There was a Cermak stop before - it looks like parts of it ended up over the street because of Cermak getting widened at some point. http://www.chicago-l.org/stations/cermak.html

Chef Luciano said...

Anon 10-18 thanks for the additional info. This station was built in 1892 one of the original!
And Now City wants to reopen it in a grand style. Only a block away, we resored the first White Castle" built in 1930.

This is great news. Hopefully it will encourage property owners in Music Row to restore their buildings to the old glory.

A Friend of Ours or A Friend of Mine? said...

The city and Department of Planning & their cronney (Bennet Haller) are a bunch of liars. They host these faux community meetings like 2-3 years ago, make promises about evaluation and more meetings with the community, and they are never to be heard from again.

Where did you LEMMINGS think it was going to be built? Take a look at land records where the station is to be built, and think about it you 'Chumbolones'. One one side of Cermak is property that was (and could still silently be) owned by 'a friend our ourzzzz' Tommy Dipiazza.

'An, ohn de otter side a de street', along the tracks we have none other than our friends at the Woodlawn Community Development Corp of 6040 S HARPER AVE
CHICAGO, IL 60637.

For those of you that need a history lesson of Chicago development about our friends at Woodlawn here is a sample http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-muckrakers/2010/09/1-3-million-a-politically-connected-landord-problem-buildings-and-a-correction/

Now, we really can't tell if the 18th or the Cermak stop would have been the best location, because there was never a chance for a serious evaluation.

Even better, is this quite possibly yet another of 1,001 examples on how to steal taxpayer funds and how to make it look legal? Why would the city wait suspiciously longer, AFTER tearing down IKES homes with FEDERAL TARP FUNDS, to purchase land needed to build said Cermak station, when by tearing down the public housing, the land price value could have just doubled or trippled in market value? If this is the case, simply BRILLIANT (golf clap)!

Anonymous said...

Re: who owns the land - they seem a lot more smarter than all of us. I dont care about crappy homes in woodlawn.. if they own the land - I hope they sell it to the city. Re DiPiazza - same thing - god bless them if they took the time to get connected and make money. If they get in trouble for something - they took the chance. When you are in political positions - you will then understand how things get done. If they dont get anything going your constituents vote you out.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:40. What the hell are you talking about. Tommy is a developer, of course he has his own agenda. In this situation whats good for Tommy is good for most of us that live in the South Loop. So again what the hell are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

While an 18th St. stop would be more convenient for me to get into the Loop for work and like other commenters mentioned--potential for a Green and Orange line access, I think the value of having a Cermak stop is much greater. The access to McCormick place, a *hopefully* developed Motor Row is important to the areas development.

A Friend of Ours or A Friend of Mine? said...

Thanks for the laugh Anon October 18, 2011 6:00 PM & 8:40PM.

It appears your standard for integrity and corruption is lower than most..."if they own the land - I hope they sell it to the city. Re DiPiazza - same thing - god bless them if they took the time to get connected and make money. "

Where were you when Blago was assembling a jury?

If you think they just happened upon this property, I have some land for you in Florida. So as you see it, yet another member of the Chicago Plan Commission (with inside information) "took a chance" and could wind up with a windfall of money above what the city should be paying ('graft tax')? So much for using taxes & TIFF funds for school, park, or other needs?

BRENDAN said...

A Friend.....

some people don't want to let facts get in the way of what they believe to be true. Well Said!

Anonymous said...

To Anon 5:40 - Clearly you live in a fantasy world.
Anonymous Anon 5:40. What the hell are you talking about. Tommy is a developer, of course he has his own agenda. In this situation whats good for Tommy is good for most of us that live in the South Loop. So again what the hell are you talking about?

I would suggest you do some research about some of the development, land acquisition and title process, and problems behind the development scene and get back to the class with your report.

Hint: look not only who currently owns the property, but follow the cast of names involved in sale chain-of-custody, banks, title companies, real estate lawyers, as well as those who have been puppeted out publically as the figurehead 'owner' or 'developer' for completed and canceled projects.

It's almost a methodical, yet perpetual fine tune symphony, quietly churning through a wash, spin, and dry cycle.

Some names silently keep coming up during proceedings years later, even though they appeared nowhere during the Project Development approval and developer/partner & investor disclosure charade.

Some already know that this goes much deeper than anyone can comprehend.

Anonymous said...

Who is living in a fantasy world? If you think there aren't back door politics and behind the scene deals happening in every level of government in every city in every corner of the globe. You Sir are a fool.

Tommy is a developer, he has done a lot of great things for the South Loop and Bridgeport.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, while any progress can be good, smart people understand that this project is already demonstrating failure in process, communication, leadership and vision, coupled with the probable ingredients of the 'old Chicago way', graft.

25 Years ago, this could have been understandable; however, with the ability of anyone to study successful examples throughout the world in a few seconds on the internet, this provides a sad case of 'What If'?

This type of failure is magnified by countless examples of government (IL, Cook, City) mis-management or disconnect, such as a failed IL legislature committing to spend $10BB+ on Tollway expansion, while creating and failing to address the solvency and changes needed for McCormick Place internally and with sound development planning principles.

Instead of the narative being, 'do you want Cermak or 18th', it should be 'what is best for this area', taking into consideration needs for McCormick Place, residential growth, Motor Row opportunities, Central Station, Michigan Ave, Lake front access, and consideration for real estate value strengthening to promote further growth.

The answer may be a combination of solutions that increase downtown access with evaluation for creating or improving commercial, cultural, residential anchors south of Roosevelt.

The plan should look at the big picture city impact, yet creating a solid mutual vision and concrete plan that considers treats the South Loop as a smaller city, with added evaluation based on Profit, Loss, Value, etc.

The major recent success in US and Europe has been more in light rail and street-car projects. A smaller less expensive station at Cermak coupled with unique light rail or street car circlulator around State/Wabash on one side, and Michigan/Indiana on the other would be wildly successful on many levels. (residential, swing peak access, commercial, anchor, in-fill, noise, taxi elimination, etc)

Some great examples.


Anonymous said...

I love the lightrail idea or trolley only for those who live in the area.. I think we need one that runs from Roosevelt down Wabash, turn left at Cermak back down Michigan. This would give those who live on the north side of the South Loop an opportunity to hop on, visit Motor Row - drink, etc.. head back home safely and vice-versa for those who live on the south end.

Anonymous said...

Love the light rail idea also. Lets get a petition going and talk to the alderman.

tayiah said...

I don't see how this would happen, unless the money comes from private donors. Lets not forget the city is broke and so is the CTA.

MarkChicago said...

I hope all this light rail talk is sarcasm...

Anonymous said...

"I hope all this light rail talk is sarcasm... "

Seriously... you people do realize that we have a bus on Michigan that goes all the way to River North, and plenty of CTA stations on the way? A light rail serving this area would be a complete waste.

The new green line stop on the other hand is fantastic news, although I would have liked to see a station on 18th.

Jeff ( the other Jeff) said...

BLAH BLAH BLAH-- Grant Park is still a mess from Lollapalooza but no one seems to care

Anonymous said...

Saw this on the PDNA website

Current Vote from Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance Green Line El Stop Community Survey


18th Street
475 - 71%

Cermak Road
42- 6%

152 - 22%

Total Votes 669 100%

wendigo said...

We need more ice cream places!!

Anonymous said...

and more sarcastic trolls...

Anonymous said...

What a predictable result for this survey. Of course most people want to have one closer to home... more people live closer to 18th than Cermack.

Those with vision can forsee that the Cermack corridor will expand in the next 20 years and an el stop there would support that expansion.

Anonymous said...

A Cermak Green Line stop would be a 5 minute walk from the Cermak Red Line stop. What's the point? Put it at 18th or don't make a stop at all. A stop at Cermak for the Green is a waste of money.

Anonymous said...

I think the main objective is to put a stop on 23rd. This would help with attendee's at mccormick place aswell as what they have planned for motor row. Its all in the article did you bother to read it?

Anonymous said...

I love how noting that the new stop would be a 5-minute walk from another stop (and thus a huge waste of money) amounts to not reading the article.

Anonymous said...

Most people are not even aware of how much OFFICE Building development is being planned for Cermak/State/Wabash in terms of creating a small business district on the south end of the South Loop. The Cermak / 23rd stop is needed for this to happen - without it, it wont. With OFFICE development, brings thousands of workers to the area and with that, they will need places to go for breakfast, lunch and dinner.