W. Siders protest plan to rebuild CTA station


By Fran Spielman

Date of Publication: June 3, 1998
Source: Chicago Sun-Times


The CTA Green Line's shuttered Homan Avenue station would be rebuilt two blocks to the west at the doorstep of the Garfield Park Conservatory, under a mayoral plan unveiled Tuesday over- the protests of West Side residents.

Garfield Park resident Melissa Ingraham did her best to spoil Mayor Daley's news conference when she complained that recent cuts in CTA bus service made the new site inaccessible and unsafe.

The $14 million station will be built at Lake Street and Conservatory Drive, in part by "deconstructing the outer shell" of the landmark Homan Station two blocks away. The 105-year-old station has been closed since 1992.

To get to the new station, Ingraham will have to walk four blocks through a crime-infested area. Because the Washington and Lake Street bus lines were eliminated, the closest bus lines are on Madison Street and Chicago Avenue.

"There's no bus line here," Ingraham shouted from the crowd. "We have no way to get here at nighttime. At 6 p.m., the conservatory is closed. This area is dark and deserted. What about our safety at nighttime?"

CTA Board Chairman Valerie Jarrett replied, "Ma'am, there are a lot of people here today who look at this [announcement] as a celebration."

Jacqueline Leavy, executive director of the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, said she "welcomes access" to the underutilized Garfield Park Conservatory, but there's "another piece of the puzzle." Bus lines must be restored and the Conservatory Drive platform must be extended "as far as they can" toward Homan, she said.

However, "This is not going to be an active area 24 hours a day. Transit is best used and is safest when there's a lot of activity around it," Leavy said.