Transit Future plans to expand Rail Lines

By METRO REPORTER

The drive to gain support for a host of transportation projects that include a CTA Lime Line linking the Blue Line’s O’Hare Airport station to the Orange Line’s Midway Airport stop has attracted at least 2,500 signatures on a petition, but still has significant financial and political hurdles to overcome, according to the two advocacy groups that are its primary sponsors.

In April 2014, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, a nonprofit that develops sustainable strategies to improve urban living, and the Active Transportation Alliance, which advocates for safer and more convenient biking, walking and transit systems in the city, launched its ambitious public transportation campaign consisting of nine projects, in addition to the Lime Line, these projects include improvements to the existing Red, Blue and Brown Line routes,  as reported May 14, 2014. by The Chronicle.

Kyle Whitehead, campaign director for the Active Transportation Alliance, said Transit Future is a county focused campaign that advocates for the county board to establish a revenue stream to fund transit improvements and expansion within Cook County.

According to Whitehead, the Active Transportation Alliance has collected more than 2,500 letters in support of the Transit Future Campaign and sent them to President of the Cook County Board Toni Preckwinkle and county commissioners.

“We looked at projects that would provide access to opportunities, access to jobs and that would better connect our current transportation system,” said Jacky Grimshaw, vice president of Policy for CNT.  

Grimshaw said the Lime Line would be a rapid transit line that removes the hassle of having to stop downtown in order to reach the North and South Sides of the city of Chicago.

“If you want to go from O’Hare to Midway, you [would be able to] go there directly without having to come downtown,” Grimshaw said.

Rissa Trotsky, a freshman art & art history major, said she often rides the Orange Line to Midway Airport. She said the Lime Line would make her commutes more manageable.

Trotsky said it can be an inconvenience when people have to rely on transfer fares to get to their destinations, experiencing significant

delays.

Financing the Transit Future projects will cost about $200 million annually, Whitehead said.

“[These projects] haven’t been able to move forward because we don’t have enough funding—transit funding is scarce,” Whitehead said.

Eric Clayton, a freshman interactive arts & media major, said he worries about how the addition of the Lime Line could affect the scheduling of other transit rails  but he thinks adding the new CTA line would benefit the city.

“All in all, it’s a time saver and people have to get to work,” Clayton said.

To construct the Lime Line, the CTA must first perform an environmental impact study, adding that ongoing support from residents is key to seeing the project through to completion.

“It’s important for people to express their support to the county commissioners and President Preckwinkle,” Grimshaw said.

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