Project Division Site Visits
Two sites have been proposed for the new Division circle line train station. The station would have to accommodate at least two lines – the existing blue line and the new circle line – and serve as a transfer point to bus lines 9, 56 and 70. The blue line is two levels underground and the new circle line would probably be one level above ground to connect to existing infrastructure on other above ground lines. Bus transfers would occur at the street level.
Site A is across Division from the current blue line exit. It is an abandoned building next to Wendy’s with a small parking lot between the two. Advantages to Site A include the following: (1a) close to existing blue line station, minimizing underground excavation for a transfer to the circle line, (2a) near the center of night life, making it a convenient access point and (3a) less foot traffic than Site B, reducing the risk of injury during the construction period. Disadvantages to Site A include the following: (1d) near a busy car traffic intersection, which may raise safety issues and (2d) located in a slightly less “nice” area, which may compromise passenger security.
Site B is a Staples on Ashland, north of Division. It is located in an outdoor shopping center that also contains a Jewel-Osco and a Kmart. It is about one block away from the current blue line station. Advantages to Site B include the following: (1a) close to shopping, alleviating the need to walk another block to get to access public transportation and (2a) located in a slightly better area where private security can patrol the shopping center. Disadvantages to Site B include the following: (1d) higher cost of construction in tearing down a larger, occupied building and building longer underground infrastructure to connect to the blue line and (2d) wide street crossing at Ashland makes it inconvenient to access bus 9 going north and it is one block removed from lines 56 and 70, making it less of a transportation hub.
Between the two sites, my inclination is towards Site A. However, a third possibility exists in renovating the abandoned MB Bank building. It is above one of the current blue line entrances, minimizing underground excavation. It could house an upper level indoor boarding platform without as much new construction. The extra space could be used for a store such as Trader Joe’s. It could offer a direct entrance to the business offices next door. Finally, it is close to bus lines 6, 56 and 70, making it a convenient transfer hub.