While it is true that our public transit system is better than many other Mid-Western cities, the funny thing is that it used to be even better than it is today. In addition to the elevated train system, during the 1920s Chicago operated a fleet of over 3,000 trolley cars on 172 routes over 1,060 miles of track. With 3.6 million fares each day, it was the largest city transit system on earth. This enormous and extensive trolley car infrastructure was completely dismantled in the name of progress in the post WW2 years, and as more and more citizens of Chicago switched to using cars instead of public transport, the elevated train and subway system continued to close and dismantle stations due to low ridership.
Can somebody say "whoops?"
As cities wrestle with congestion, pollution and traffic and citizens realize the personal and environmental costs of gasoline, long commute times and road rage, expanding our public transportation system sounds like a really good idea. This is why I am so excited by the news that the Morgan Street Station at Lake and Morgan (one block from Strand Design) is going to be rebuilt after being closed and dismantled in 1948. This may seem like a small step, but it is a significant one. Currently, there is not a train stop on The Green Line between Ashland and Clinton, which is a distance of over two miles. This diverse and vibrant area known as the West Loop / Fulton Market is home to many Chicagoans, and an enormous number of restaurants, galleries, stores, and businesses. Increasing the accessibility of transportation will be an absolute boon to the area, and we are thrilled with the announcement.
Work is scheduled to begin in 2010, and the station should be completed in 2012. Keep your fingers crossed!