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One woman’s Red Line reroute: a treetop view and faster commute

Updated: June 22, 2013 6:11AM

Red Line rider Stephanie Williams zoomed to work Monday using CTA alternatives that proved faster, prettier and cheaper than her normal commute.

“This was excellent. This was better,” Williams said of her first rush-hour commute since Sunday’s Red Line South shutdown.

“I give the CTA a thumbs-up.”

Some 80,000 CTA L riders faced a new commute to work Monday during the first rush-hour test of the CTA’s five-month, $425 million reconstruction of Red Line South, from Cermak to 95th.

Williams, 45, drove in from Dolton and as usual parked near the 87th Street Red Line station. There, at 6:15 a.m. she started using a network of CTA alternatives that shaved almost a half-hour off her commute and made the rest of her ride to work free.

The free shuttle from 87th to the Garfield Green Line station was faster than the Red Line because it was an express bus with no stops, Williams said. Jumping immediately on a Red Line train, her ride to Chicago Avenue was faster because she traveled on Green Line tracks — without the Red Line’s notorious slow zones.

And instead of staring out at cement and Dan Ryan drivers, Williams got to look out at spring green treetops and even a rooftop garden because she was traveling on Green Line tracks.

“This is good scenery,” Williams said. “I think this will be a better commute.”

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