Friday, June 24, 2016

Mayor Expresses Interest in Idea to Convert Metra Electric District Line to Rapid-Transit Line

From the Trib:
A proposal to convert the Metra Electric District Line into a rapid-transit line with more frequent stops to serve the South Side and suburbs has drawn the interest of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has asked the head of the Regional Transportation Authority to facilitate discussion on the issue, RTA officials said.
So why does this impact us in the Sloop?  Well for some of the Sloop residents, more stops on this line could better and more frequent access to downtown (especially for residents who live closer in and around the east side of the Prairie Ave District and close to McCormick Place.

While the definitely has pros and cons for the Sloop, it's mainly being floated to help bolster access from the south side of Chicago and south suburbs to the downtown core.

Despite this news and expressed interest from the mayor, it sounds like there are some major hurdles to overcome:
The Metra Electric rapid-transit idea is not new — community activists had proposed it as the Gray Line in 1996 and the Gold Line in 2009.  
The proposal has many obstacles, primarily the shortage of funding for transit expansion and the difficulty of using Ventra with Metra's distance-based fares.  
The coalition brought the proposal to Metra last month. Metra had previously begun a study with the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District examining capacity along the Metra Electric District Line, including whether it has the electrical power to support more trains and what changes would be needed in the track and power system. That study, which should answer some of the questions about the coalition's proposal, is expected to be done in early 2017, Metra spokesman Michael Gillis said.
Will this happen?  Seems unlikely.  But it's good to see that "creative" solutions are being considered to help with public transit.

While who knows what's going to happen with the Lucas Museum, we do know that the mayor and politicians have their eye on improving access to Museum Campus/McCormick Place/Motor Row.  Is this a potential solution, maybe?  Definitely worth the consideration.

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