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Old Posted Sep 9, 2009, 7:16 AM
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Ford City hopes to get railroaded
CTA Orange Line extension could shore up Southwest Side mall

By Carmen Greco Jr.

September 9, 2009

John Keating has lived in the shadow of the Ford City Mall since it opened in 1965 and watched as nearby suburban malls whittled its customer base and stole higher-end retailers. But now he's hopeful about CTA plans for a new Orange Line stop there.

"We've been waiting for a major transportation project for some period of time," said Keating, 74, of the Scottsdale neighborhood. "The Orange Line is going to be a great asset to the Far Southwest Side of the city."

Keating said he was peeved in the early 1990s when CTA officials, citing a lack of funds, decided to end the new Orange Line at Midway Airport rather than Ford City. An extension would add 2.3 miles from the airport to the mall's doorstep at 76th Street and Cicero Avenue.

"It seems like this corner of the city has been put on the back burner," he said. "Out here in the boonies, we have to fight for everything."

The new stop, with an estimated price tag of $490 million, most of which would be federal funds, would not be operational until at least 2016.

CTA spokeswoman Tandra Simonton said it was premature to comment beyond that the project is in a preliminary study phase and that the agency's federal grant request is pending.

The extension is intended to improve bus-to-train connections for numerous CTA and Pace bus routes along Cicero Avenue and other nearby areas where there has been significant growth.

Ford City Mall owners already are salivating at the increased visibility a rail station could bring, not to mention the increased foot traffic it would generate. The CTA estimates the extension would serve up to 7,200 riders from the city and nearby southwest suburbs...................

Last edited by nomarandlee; Sep 9, 2009 at 7:33 AM.
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