Yesterday, voters in the 20th, 36th and 38th precincts of the 44th Ward had a chance to make their voices heard with a non-binding referendum asking if the CTA has justified the proposed Red-Purple Bypass project. The CTA has indicated that the proposed elevated bypass at the Red, Brown and Purple line switchover between the Belmont and Addison stops — the Clark Junction, basically the Hillside Strangler of North Side public transit — would supposedly provide a huge public benefit in the form of faster, smoother rides, however the results are in, and 72% of voters have said no.
According to Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin, who outlined the proposal in May while recapping a public hearing about the plan, the $320 million flyover would require the demolition of 16 buildings and a 45 foot tall rail structure twice the height of the L (he compared it to a roller coaster). The total time savings for commuters would be just 84 seconds (a little more than twice the time it takes to read this post). During that meeting, neighbors voiced complaints about the lack of information and how the extra elevation may become an eyesore damaging property values and future investments. The referendum doesn't carry any legal power, but it provides insight into the neighborhood's sentiment, which may be a big factor in upcoming public hearings. Construction, which requires federal funds, wouldn't start until 2017.
— Patrick Sisson
·Election Center [Chicago Tribune]
·CTA Belmont flyover fate subject of voter referendum [CTA Tattler]
·Tribune architecture critic: CTA flyover proposal misguided, unnecessary [Chicago Tribune]