Talk about short-sighted! The CTA’s Blue Line vision study suggests making stations more ADA and wheelchair friendly by adding elevators. A great plan, until you realize they propose getting rid of walkable secondary entrances at Circle, East and Lombard Avenues.
This would fundamentally change life in Forest Park for those who use the Blue Line. Picture 14-below-zero February. You now have a seven-block trudge where the walk formerly was three blocks. The decision to drive becomes compelling, adding more cars to the Ike’s eight-lane river of congestion and driving CTA ridership down.
Forest Park is a gem of transportation options and has been awarded a “Walkability Score” of 82 out of 100, the highest score in Illinois. The Chicago Real Estate Forum determined on a 100-point scale, a 10-point increase in walkability increases property values by 1 to 9 percent.
Where does that leave us if CTA closes the much more human-scale Circle Avenue entrance and leaves pedestrians crossing the urban cement wasteland of Harlem and the 711 Desplaines terminal? How walkable does that make our town?
These proposed station design changes will completely alter how Forest Parkers view the Chicago commute and may affect our property values.
This misguided plan should be discouraged, vocally. Please let your opinions be known by sending an email to CTA at firstname.lastname@example.org. Encourage CTA to keep access for “minor” station entrances in Forest Park and Oak Park.