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Oak Park Entertains CTA Expansion Idea

By Soyoung Kwak in News on Apr 25, 2010 6:30PM

Talk of CTA expansion is popular these days. As a response to clogged highways and frustrated drivers due to the heavy construction on the Eisenhower Expressway, concerned residents of Oak Park are currently entertaining the idea of expanding CTA's Blue Line all the way to Oak Brook. One person who is thrilled about a possible CTA expansion, Oak Park Assistant Village Manager Rob Cole, says that this consideration is "historic" and that the I-290 corridor was "designed to have rail and cars either side-by-side or nearby." The alternative to expanding the Blue Line would be to widen the lanes on the Eisenhower Expressway to accommodate more drivers. However, it appears that a CTA expansion would be able to serve more commuters and community members while possibly saving time on commutes in and out of the city of Chicago as well:

Cole said studies by the Illinois Dept. of Transportation (IDOT) show that a high occupancy vehicle lane on the Eisenhower would provide space for an additional 9,000 cars a day, and said it would not yield any time savings, especially when the time consumed by pick-ups and drop-offs is added. By contrast, he said, a CTA extension would accommodate at least 28,000 riders a day.

This proposal is not totally popular, as some say that it is hard to predict how popular ridership would be. In addition, Ralph Kuner, a representative of the Citizens for Appropriate Transportation, said that there is no real pressing need for Blue Line expansion right now, keeping in mind the current state of the economy and job market. Although this sounds great for Oak Park and surrounding areas, the CTA should perhaps be more focused on and will probably be busy improving service along current routes for now.