Evanston CTA riders: Don’t close two Purple Line stations
BY CHERYL V. JACKSON Cjackson@suntimes.com
Mary Hawley isn’t happy at the thought of CTA closing the South Boulevard stop on the Purple Line, four blocks from her house.
It would mean her teen-age daughter would be likely headed to the Howard station whenever she wanted to travel to downtown Chicago on public transportation.
“The bus on Ridge is not reliable. To have her walking from the Howard station? It’s not safe. There’s a lot of gang activity,” said Hawley, who was among CTA riders at the Fleetwood-Jourdain Community Center in Evanston to learn about plans to possibly close two stations in Evanston and up to three others on the North Side on the Red and Purple lines.
Track repair and station renovations also are part of possible changes along sections of the route.
Thursday’s was the last of four meetings — all this week — the CTA hosted to pass out information about the rehabilitation and modernization options, which include closing stations at Jarvis, Thorndale, Lawrence on the Red Line, and Foster and South Boulevard on the Purple Line, and adding entrances to other stops.
Reducing the number of stops would reduce the average travel time for passengers because the trains would be able to travel faster, and would allow for more efficient use of funds to improve stations, according to the CTA.
On the downside, the plan could mean longer walks for up to 12 percent of CTA customers to get to station platforms — up to seven minutes, or three blocks, CTA said.
Like Hawley, most riders at the meetings Thursday were looking to preserve the South station.
“My husband and I are looking to take public transportation more and it seems like a step back to close stations that people can walk to.”
“I don’t feel the increase in speed of a few minutes is worth the pain to communities and the loss of ridership that would result,” said Mark Kramer, a Wilmette resident.
“As a taxpayer, I’d rather see the system upgraded. If you have a system where the tracks are upgraded and everything works on the trains, then you can reduce travel time without reducing access to the system.”