Year 2000 Transportation System Development Plan

 

Published by: Chicago Area Transportation Study
Publishing date: 1980 (updated 1982 and 1984)


Plan Summary:

The Year 2000 Transportation System Development Plan placed special emphasis on improving transit service in the Chicago region by optimizing existing services and adding new ones, within the financial capabilities of the region. In recognition of uncertain future energy availability (the plan was formulated not long after the oil crises of the 1970s), the plan suggested a multitude of rapid transit projects and route realignments, though the document makes a point of noting that the projects are justified and contain merit even without a "deterioration in the national energy situation."

The Year 2000 Plan first and foremost suggested that all present rapid transit service should be retained. It notes, however, that many existing lines will need "major capital expenditures that will be required" for the "maintenance of structures and replacement of some rolling stock." Worse, "some of the rapid transit system's structures will be in need of extensive rehabilitation before the year 2000," including the Loop, the Ravenswood, and the Englewood-Jackson Park. These projects are to receive some priority for funding.

Expansion and Addition Projects:

All the rapid transit projects listed below were "subject to further investigation," except for the O'Hare extension, which was underway by the time revised versions of the Year 2000 Plan were released. The plan also suggested constructing some lines and projects in phases to make them more easily implemented.

  • Extend the Milwaukee Line east from Jefferson Park to O'Hare Airport via the Kennedy Expressway.
  • Extend the Skokie Swift north from the Dempster terminal to Old Orchard via the abandoned North Shore Line interurban right-of-way.
  • Two extensions south from the Dan Ryan 95th Street terminal. The first would go southeast to 103rd Street in the median of the Calumet Expressway. The second would extend southwest along the I-57 median and the ICG Blue Island Branch to Vermont Street in Blue Island. "The corridor study for these lines will determine the feasibility of implementing one or both lines, particularly in light of potential impacts on Rock Island ridership. (Note: ICG commuter service on the Blue Island Branch would likely be discontinued if the southwest extension were implemented.)"
  • A Southwest Line from the Central Area to Cicero Avenue, then south on Cicero to the Ford City Shopping Center.
  • Construct a North Lakefront Line, north from Michigan Avenue along the lake to Belmont or Diversey, then west to a connection with the Howard/Ravenswood right-of-way. In the future, the line could be extended north to replace the aging Ravenswood Line or as a new line north along the lakefront. A second suggested alignment was east from Kimball along the Ravenswood, continuing east along Lawrence, then south in a subway along Broadway and Clark Street to the CBD.
  • Construct a South Lakefront Line, extending south from where the North Lakefront Line left off south to 95th Street and South Chicago Avenue via the ICG commuter and Conrail right-of-ways. This line may function in a number of ways: as a new rapid transit line, a replacement for the south side elevated, or a new ICG high-speed commuter service. As part of a staged implementation, the Conrail portion could be built first and connected to the south side elevated pending construction of the remaining segment.
  • Construct a Riverbank Line using rail right-of-way from Navy Pier along the Chicago River, south along the South Branch of the Chicago River (serving the Northwestern and Union stations), to Pilsen, where it could connect with the new Southwest Line. A second suggested alignment would take the form of a subway under Monroe Street, following a Clinton/Congress/Ashland alignment to the Southwest Line.
  • Realign the rapid transit routes by constructing a connection between the State Street Subway and the Dan Ryan Line. The Howard and Dan Ryan Line would be linked and the Lake and Englewood-Jackson Park routes would be paired, resulting in a better balance in demand and more appropriate levels of service based on ridership numbers.

 

Proposed Routings and Alignments

The Year 2000 Transportation System Development Plan is somewhat unique in that it suggested not only new projects and lines (as most transportation plans do), but also suggested several alternatives for the through-routing of trains through the central business district, as well as some alternatives routings around the city.

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Map A of Expansion Projects

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Map B of Expansion Projects

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Alternative A

  • Evanston Line: keep existing service
  • Howard-Dan Ryan Line: through-routing existing Howard service via the State Street Subway and a new connector between Roosevelt and 17th Street to the Dan Ryan Line, then southeast along the proposed extension to 103rd Street.
  • Lake-Englewood-Jackson Park Line: existing Lake Street service through-routed to the Englewood-Jackson Park Line via the Loop elevated.
  • O'Hare-Congress-Douglas: existing Milwaukee-Congress-Douglas service continued northeast past Jefferson Park to O'Hare via the Kennedy Expressway.
  • Ravenswood-Southwest Line: existing Ravenswood service to the Loop, south along the south side main line to 18th Street, southwest to Cicero Avenue, then south along Cicero to the Ford City Shopping Center.
  • Ravenswood-North Lakefront-South Lakefront Line: east from Kimball along the Ravenswood, continuing east along Lawrence to Broadway, then south in a subway under Clark Street or along the lakefront to the east side of the CBD, continuing south to 95th and South Chicago, via the ICG, Cottage Grove Avenue and Conrail.

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Map of Alternative A
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Alternative B

  • Ravenswood Line: existing service
  • Evanston Line: existing service
  • O'Hare-Congress-Douglas: same as Alternative A
  • Howard-Dan Ryan: same as Alternative A
  • Lake-Englewood-Jackson Park: same as Alternative A
  • Ravenswood-North Lakefront-South Lakefront: same as Alternative A
  • Southwest Line: south from LaSalle Street Station (with a cross-platform transfer from the commuter station to the Ravenswood Line at LaSalle/Van Buren), south to 18th Street where it continues southwest as prescribed in Alternative A.
  • Loop Shuttle: a train making all stops on a continuous circuit of the Loop via the inner track.

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Map of Alternative B
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Alternative C

  • Ravenswood Line: existing service
  • Evanston Line: existing service
  • O'Hare-Congress-Douglas: same as Alternative A
  • Howard-Dan Ryan: same as Alternative A
  • Lake-Englewood-Jackson Park: same as Alternative A
  • Ravenswood-North Lakefront-Riverbank-Southwest Line: North Lakefront service as in Alternative A, splitting from the North Lakefront Line at the Chicago River, with "A" service going west along the Chicago River, south along the South Branch of the Chicago River (serving the Northwestern and Union stations), to Pilsen, where it could connect with the new Southwest Line as in Alternative A.
  • Ravenswood-North Lakefront-South Lakefront: North Lakefront service as in Alternative A, continuing along the North Lakefront Line as "B" service connecting to the South Lakefront Line from Alternative A.
  • Riverbank Shuttle: A shuttle service between Navy Pier and Roosevelt Road via the Main and South Branches of the Chicago River.

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Map of Alternative C
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Alternative D

  • Ravenswood Line: existing service
  • Evanston Line: existing service
  • O'Hare-Congress-Douglas: same as Alternative A
  • Howard-Dan Ryan: same as Alternative A
  • Lake-Englewood-Jackson Park: same as Alternative A
  • Ravenswood-North Lakefront-Monroe-Southwest Line: North Lakefront service as in Alternative A, splitting from the North Lakefront Line at the Chicago River, with "A" service going west in a subway under Monroe Street to Clinton, where it would follow Clinton, Congress and Ashland, connecting with the new Southwest Line as in Alternative A
  • Ravenswood-North Lakefront-South Lakefront: same as Alternative C.
  • Monroe Shuttle: A shuttle service between Halsted and Grand Avenues via the Monroe Street Subway and the North Lakefront Line.

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Map of Alternative D
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The Results:

Few transportation plans propose such a massive and lofty set of infrastructure goals, so it should come as no surprise that most of these projects never came to pass.

As the planning document said, the O'Hare extension was already being started by the time revised version of the plan were published.

The Dan Ryan extensions to 103rd Street and Blue Island and the Skokie Swift extension to Old Orchard have never been implemented and though the Blue Island Branch has been all but forgotten, the 103rd and Old Orchard extensions remain in the current regional transportation plan as low-priority projects earmarked for further study. These two projects were among those being strongly considered in early 2002 for pursuit of federal funding by CTA® in the near future (see story in Articles section).

The Southwest Line became the Midway (Orange) Line in 1993, though it has yet to reach its original goal of Ford City. However, if ridership continues to climb as it has since the line's opening, the extension may still be a real possibility. The line was never through-routed to the Ravenswood or anywhere else, though; it terminates in the Loop, circling the inner track clockwise. The Ford City extension is also mentioned in the above article.

The North Lakefront Line, never implemented due to its high capital cost, was included for the last time in the Year 2000 Plan. It has never been built, nor will it probably ever be.

The South Lakefront Line, as envisioned, was never built and use of Conrail right-of-way to reach southeast Chicago, despite its promise, was never, mentioned again. Improvement of the ICG corridor, as either a new "L"TM line or as a retooling of what is now Metra Electric District commuter service, was carried over to the 2010 Transportation System Development Plan.

The Riverbank Line and Monroe Street Subway (as alternatives to one another) were dropped, though the Riverbank Line served many of the same purposes and followed some of the proposed alignments of the long-running Central Area Circulator proposal.

And, of course, the Howard-Dan Ryan through-routing occurred in 1992, forming today's CTA® Red Line.

Mention of the deterioration of existing "L"TM lines was quite prophetic considering the predicament the CTA® is currently facing. The Englewood-Jackson Park Line mentioned in the plan was indeed rehabbed in the 1994-1996 Green Line remodeling (though the Lake Street portion, which was equally as bad, isn't mentioned), the Loop receives maintenance as needed and funding for the Ravenswood refit is still in the process of being secured as of June 1999. But oddly enough, the line that is in the worst condition right now, the Douglas Line, is not mentioned in the 2000 Plan.

Interestingly, the Loop Shuttle mentioned in Alternative B was actually implemented from 1969 to 1977. This plan would have meant reinstating it. This never came to pass.

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