In the Loop: November 21, 2013 - Metropolitan Planning Council

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In the Loop: November 21, 2013

Chicago Mayor’s Office

Chicago’s proposed new 95th Street Terminal Red Line Station.

In the Loop is your round-up of what’s going on in the transportation world, posted in conjunction with Talking Transit.

@metroplanners news

The Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has long advocated for ensuring that people have a wide range of options to choose from when it comes to their commutes. That’s why we’re hosting a roundtable on December 6 to discuss Commute Options, MPC’s transportation demand management pilot. We’ll be releasing a report and hearing from three exciting panelists—plus giving away free DIVVY one-day passes.

Google is one company that takes the idea of commute options to heart. The company’s new Chicago headquarters is located just steps from the new Morgan Street Pink and Green Line station to ease employees’ commutes.

But transportation is not just about getting to and from work. In Bronzeville, for example, a neighborhood group that MPC has worked with has transformed a formerly disused space under the ‘L’ into a lovely garden. That’s Placemaking in action.


Chicagoans were disappointed to hear earlier this month that City Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein is resigning, effective Dec. 1, to rejoin his family in Washington, D.C. Commissioner Klein played an important role in making Chicago a better city for walking, biking and transit and will be missed.

But the momentum for positive change in the Windy City has not let up. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) revealed preliminary designs for its new 95th Street Red Line Station (exterior image, interior image), which will enter into construction next year. The stop, which is one of the busiest in the system, will include art by Chicago’s own Theaster Gates. CTA also received good news from the federal government, which announced that the modernization of the Red and Purple Lines meets New Starts status—which means the city can apply for significant extra capital funding to pay for a project that may cost between $2 and 5 billion to complete.

As detailed in this month’s Talking Transit, Chicago is moving quickly on the implementation of bus rapid transit (BRT) lines on Ashland Avenue and through the Central Loop. So are other cities. In rural Colorado, a new BRT line is luring commuters out of their cars. In New York State, activists are arguing that the reconstruction of a highway bridge should include a BRT element.

This month also brought big news for light rail expansion around the world. Paris opened its new T7 line, bringing the regional light rail network to 50 miles, up from 25 miles in 2011; the system will expand to 65 miles in total. In Los Angeles, the Expo Line light rail, which is expected to open in 2016 at a cost of $1.5 billion, is now 50 percent complete in terms of construction. And in North Carolina, the communities of Durham and Chapel Hill are moving forward with plans for a light rail link between the cities with a completion date of 2026. Both the L.A. and North Carolina projects are funded through local sales taxes approved by the voters in referenda.


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