Looks like they’re opting for a smaller circle line instead of the more logical, more egalitarian mid-city line (Jefferson Park to Ford City alongside Cicero, then Ford City to Red Line 89th street alongside abandoned and presently used rail lines). There’s also a couple other lines (as well as the mid-city line) I’d like to see done before this thing gets built, but you know how things are…
Nevertheless, there’s positives from what I’ve seen, and they come from the fact that they didn’t limit themselves to using the Paulina Corridor:
- One of the three accepted options goes all the way to Western Avenue, expanding service to an area with enough need that it has Express Service over much it. That could be the start of a Western Avenue El, which would benefit one of the busiest roads in Chicago.Looking at the poll, it looks like the people are with me on the Corridor to choose. The Western Avenue routing outpolls the two others (and if stuck with an Ashland/Paulina corridor route, avoid the Odgen routing, please). But why the popularity of Light Rail, especially since they already have a strong Heavy Rail Presence, is beyond me. Heavy Rail would allow interconnections and make ordering easier (one set of railcars, not two different types).
- Some of the other considered routings had positives of their own besides the circle routing itself. The Halstead and Canal/Clinton options could act as through routes connecting other routes through downtown, and the Ashland/Odgen alignment could allow for through-routing from the Howard to Douglas or Midway while bypassing downtown.
What’s missing, imho, is a connection across from where this line meets the Orange Line across to Pershing Street. Since there’s a connection from the Green Line to the State Street Tunnel, there’s no need to jerri-rig a connection to the Dan Ryan Line. Plus, even if you use the Halsted Corridor, extending the line down to Pershing allows for expanding the el into areas it has never been before (instead of merely increasing service over two or three stations at best). You would also introduce time savings for people using the 95th Street Line going places other than downtown, something avoided by using the Orange Line.
Originally they talked about a three-part building plan for the Circle Line (one part finished, as shown by the Pink Line). Even if they end up doing the Western route, I’d allow for them to add on the Pershing Street connection after building the rest; just as long as the line is planned for and eventually built.