Answers to your queries: Block 37, Wilson retail space
Here is another installment in answers to questions that I didn't have the time to ask President Ron Huberman at the last Coffee with Ron. And no, Huberman did not personally answer each of these questions. Answers were prepared by the PR staff and reviewed by Huberman.
What with the whole Block 37 quagmire, will the stop be reopening (to serve its old role as just a regular stop with a Blue Line transfer, if not its magical role as airport-express-luggage-dropoff-whatever)? (From Sabrina.)
The Washington Red Line station was closed in 2006 due to construction at Block 37. Currently, there are a number of ways the station can be re-designed to serve customers and the Block 37 area. Because of this, plans for the Washington Red Line station are on hold until CTA can find a private sector partner and the direction of the project is determined.
I'd like to know what the timeline is for renovating the retail space under the Wilson Red Line station. I'd also like to know if the CTA owns the Majestic Store property at Broadway and Leland, and what the plans are, if any, to stop the deterioration of this historic building. (From Elaine.)
CTA currently does not have a timeline for renovating the retail space at Wilson. Our real estate contractor, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) is working on a global review of CTA's real estate holdings. CTA owns the Majestic Store property on Broadway. JLL is reviewing CTA's real estate portfolio to determine the status of its facilities and the best use for each of them. JLL has only been on board since August 1, 2008, so their process is in the early stages.
Is the CTA considering contracts with other cellular carriers for underground access? (From Bryan Zera.)
CTA issued an RFP for wireless service providers interested in using CTA’s infrastructure to provide service to their customers in the subway. Any wireless provider with service in Chicago can respond and will be considered. To date, Verizon Wireless and U.S. Cellular offer service in the subway.
How long will the Monroe Street subway platform be down to just a single bench that passengers cannot sit on because it's occupied by a smelly bum? (There used to be at least 3 benches.) (From CC Writer.)
Our facilities staff will review this.
Why do they only use the smaller size buses on the southbound #148 bus route in the morning? The buses are too small for the number of riders, and always end up overcrowded. Many people in my neighborhood (along Clarendon) have given up on the 148 because we simply can't get on the buses. (From DNash.)
CTA currently has 220 articulated buses but more are ordered. Articulated buses currently are being used along high ridership routes such as 145, 151, and 156.
More questions and answers on Wednesday.