When plans for The 78 were unveiled, one of the line items that gave us the warm and fuzzies was the notion that the South Loop might be in line for another new L station. That idea is taking another step from being a mystery dot on a stylized map to becoming something concrete.
A public meeting has been called to discuss revised plans for the new CTA Red Line station at The 78. You’ll remember that The 78 is the seven billion dollar plan from Related Midwest, designed by SOM, to transform Rezkoland from a hobo-riffic briar patch into a thriving community of academics, businesses, and tax revenue. It anticipates 10,000 new homes, and skyscrapers up to 950 feet tall. That’s tall enough to land in the city’s top ten if they went up today.
The previous plan had the Red Line station penciled in on the southeast corner of South Clark Street and West 15th Street. Third Ward Alderman Pat Dowell nixed that concept, in part because it would destroy a parklet at that location, but mostly because it would be “disruptive” to the people living in the still-quiet Dearborn Homes enclave just feet away.
Related’s new plan is to move the station across the street, onto land it owns, and out of Dowell’s ward.
This might be the better choice anyway, because it creates the possibility for Related to build an even better station. One that would allow people to transfer directly between the CTA’s Red Line subway, and Metra’s Rock Island Line, which runs through The 78. A combined Metra/CTA station at 15th Street would allow commuting and reverse-commuting for people from Rogers Park all the way out to Joliet.
Right now the only opportunity for such a transfer is at 35th Street, which requires an outdoor walk across half of the Dan Ryan Expressway, and a very busy stretch of LaSalle Street. Considering the way people in Chicago are crazy about living and working near mass transit, it’s not unreasonable to think that investing in a combined station for a stretch of Metra track that Related was going to rebuild anyway would pay dividends.
If you have any thoughts about the new Red Line station, bring your mouth to South Loop Elementary School at 1212 South Plymouth Court on Thursday (January 31, 2019) at 6pm.