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CHICAGO (CBS) — Twice within a month, CTA is doing something it hasn’t done for years — opening new ‘L’ stations.
When the Oakton station on the Yellow Line opened a week ago, it was the first new ‘L’ station in nearly a decade, WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports. Before the month is over, service is expected to begin at the Morgan stop, just west of the Loop on the Green Line.
CTA President Forrest Claypool is pleased with the Oakton station.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts Reports
“You have right here 1,400 workers, right at this stop, and now have a way to get to work that is much easier and more conveniently,” Claypool said.
The Illinois Science + Technology Park is located immediately to the west of the station between Oakton Street and Searle Parkway in a former Searle manufacturing plant and laboratory.
Riders using the station told WBBM Newsradio that the Skokie line’s first-ever intermediate stop helps them.
“It won’t be the Pokey Swift,” one said. “It will still be the Swift.”
Several factors weighed in Morgan’s favor on the Green Line. There has been extensive residential construction in the area and businesses have added jobs. Also, when the Morgan station was planned, Oprah Winfrey still taped her daily television program at Harpo Studios, a short distance from the new stop.
Winfrey has since relocated taping of her new cable show to California, and its replacement, the Rosie O’Donnell Show, lasted only a few months. TIF money is financing much of the construction cost at Morgan.
The Oakton/Skokie station is the first intermediate stop on the Yellow Line since Skokie Swift service re-established an ‘L’ line to Skokie in 1964. A second intermediate stop is being planned for Asbury Avenue, in Evanston, but awaits funding. A mix of federal and local money financed the cost of the Oakton/Skokie station.
Ironically, both Oakton and Morgan had ‘L’ stops in the identical locations until 1948. In both cases, low ridership at the time prompted the decision to discontinue service.