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Red Line Reconstruction Work Could Force Street Vendors To Move Shop

Street vendor Donald Hatley works amid traffic on 87th Street near the Dan Ryan Red Line. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM)

Street vendor Donald Hatley works amid traffic on 87th Street near the Dan Ryan Red Line. (Credit: Bernie Tafoya/WBBM)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – When the reconstruction of the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line begins Sunday, it could have a ripple effect on people who make their livings selling items on the street near CTA stations on the South Side.

Donald Hatley is one of them. He’s sold everything from socks and towels, to pillows and pop at 87th Street and the Dan Ryan for the past five years.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but we shall see,” Hatley said.

He said a lot of his customers are Red Line riders who park in the nearby Jewel parking lot and walk to the 87th Street station.

The question now is what alternate route those commuters will use once the south end of the Red Line shuts down, and how that will affect Hatley’s business.

He said, if business slows down, he’ll move his operation to Swap-O-Rama, which has locations in the Back of the Yards neighborhood, and suburban Melrose Park and Alsip.

The CTA will be providing shuttle buses from the closed Red Line stations at the 95th, 87th, 79th, 69th, 63rd, and Garfield stations to the Green Line station on Garfield Boulevard. For Red Line riders north of Garfield, Red Line trains will operate on Green Line tracks just a couple blocks east of the Red Line.

At the Garfield stop on the Green Line, 47-year-old Garland Gant has been selling to commuters and neighbors alike for 12 years. He said he makes a decent living selling on the street.

“I bought a house doing this,” he said proudly.

As for talk some street vendors from along the Red Line might join him on Garfield, Gant said, “That’s okay. I’ll just deal with it. Competition never hurts. Shows me how good I am.”

Gant said his operation has become even more sophisticated in the past few months. He now accepts debit and credit cards on his smartphone. And because of the potential increase in customers, Gant said he’s thinking about starting to sell hot dogs and Polish sausages, too.