The 63rd Street Red Line station will become accessible in the CTA’s “Red South Track Renewal Project” closure in summer 2013.
A commenter on the Riders for Better Transit Facebook page, responding to their question about what Chicago Transit Authority passengers think of the transit agency’s plan to shut down the Dan Ryan portion of the Red Line for 5 months of track replacement, stated “I think this NEVER would go down for the Northbound Red Line”. Here’s the project summary:
Starting in Spring 2013, the CTA will rebuild the tracks along the south Red Line, from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan—a project that will provide faster, more comfortable and more reliable service for Red Line riders.
Here’s one reason why: The number of passengers who use the “North Side Main Line”, as the north side section of the Red Line is sometimes referred to, is greater than the State Street subway section (as a whole), or the Dan Ryan section (as a whole and as an average per station).
The number of boardings in April 2012 (.pdf), the last month for which the CTA has published ridership statistics, for the north segment of the Red Line (from Howard to Grand) is 128,683 (a 5.7% increase over April 2011).
For the same month in the State Street subway section (from Lake to Roosevelt), the number of boardings was 57,232 (a 5.2% increase). And for the Dan Ryan segment (from Cermak-Chinatown to 95th), the number of boardings was 50,044 (an increase of 1.3%).
On a per station average, the north segment, with 19 stations, had 6,772.8 boardings. For the State Street subway, with 5 stations, there was an average of 11,446.4 boardings. And the Dan Ryan segment, with 9 stations, had 5,560.4 boardings per station.
However, there’s another difference between the north and south segments of the Red Line: construction staging for the north segment is much easier than the south segment. The Dan Ryan portion is in the middle of a highway with little or no room for equipment storage and maneuvering while surface streets provide plenty of space for the North Side Main Line. Closing the Dan Ryan part of the Red Line completely makes for a shorter, and likely easier, construction time. Single tracking would lead to a longer period of delays and unreliable trip times.
Since I’m on the topic, a reader asked a few months ago that we look into why the Dan Ryan Red Line is being rebuilt when it was worked on in 2005. The CTA answered this question on its website (scroll down to “Project scope”):
The CTA already had a Dan Ryan Reconstruction Project. How is this different from that?
The work in 2005 focused primarily on electrical power infrastructure — substations, crossovers, third rail, and other power-related elements — and station renovations, including adding elevators at 47th and 69th stations and refurbishment of platform canopies at eight stations from Sox-35th to 87th, inclusive. This work will focus on the track bed.
The CTA will hold public meetings this summer about the project.