The Chicago Transit Authority says its spring 2013 closure of nine Red Line stations – from Cermak/Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan – will create hundreds of jobs for construction workers and bus drivers.
But what it’s not talking about is the impact this five-month project will have on the workers who earn their livings near the subway line, at various kiosks, restaurants and local businesses. For more, visit our Chicago Muckrakers blog.
[Photos by Brent Lewis]
A map of the south branch of the Red Line. These nine stations are scheduled to be closed from May 2013 to October 2013.
In her 19 years as an employee at Jim’s, Betty Domagala said she has never seen a closure like the one the CTA has planned for next summer–the busiest time of the year for Jim’s, which doesn’t have an indoor area for customers. “It’s gonna kill us,” Domagala said. “Not only the customers but the employees.”
Darnell Cooks, employee at Dunkin’ Donuts for three-and-half years, rings up a customers at the 95th and the Red Line stop. Cooks says “Are they going to close? I need to know because I got bills to pay.”
Katie Dang, manager of Cantonesia, 204 W. Cermak, said she thinks business in Chinatown could fall by as much as 40 percent next summer because the area relies on the Red Line for customers. Dang said parking in Chinatown is not good and cabs are hard to find. “The Red Line – it’s one of our major forms of transportation,” she said, adding she hopes the CTA will put signs at the Roosevelt stop telling transit riders how to get to Chinatown from there. “If I could vote, I would vote no. Five months is too long.”
Chinatown, which gets a lot of tourist by train in spring and summer, will have trouble bringing in people to restaurants and businesses in the area.
Bhavik Patel and his wife pose inside of his shop at the 95th and the Red Line. The shop, Gateway Newsstand, may have to close during the five months of the construction, putting himself, his wife and their two employees out of work.
The end of the line at 95th and Red Line. The terminal has over 15 connecting routes that allow people to reach all the way to the South suburbs and even back downtown by bus.