Well that didn’t take long. Two weeks back, the Journal published a story saying the CTA was considering “compact stations” in the eventual redo of the Blue Line that would close the “minor” entrances at Lombard, East and, in Forest Park, Circle Avenue. We reported that because it was one of the options on the CTA’s own planning website. And we reported it because when we contacted the CTA, the spokesman said the discussion on compact stations was only in its early phases.
But quickly, CTA planners announced they had, in fact, eliminated the compact station option in both Forest Park and Oak Park. When the Eisenhower and the Blue Line are eventually rebuilt, entrances will continue to stretch from, for instance, Austin Boulevard to Lombard.
We’re glad our reporting pushed the CTA to publicly announce what they say they had already privately decided. We think it is a great decision that respects the need to preserve and enhance walkable access to public transit. It is an essential boost to the long-term fortunes of the Oak Park Arts District on Harrison Street.
And it is a reminder to both Oak Park and Forest Park to keep paying attention to this massive project. There are many moving parts, giant bureaucracies and interests and motivations that do not necessarily match up with the needs of these two villages.