Red Line closure will hit local businesses, employees hard

Kyla Gardner | The Chicago Reporter

The Chicago Transit Authority says its spring 2013 closure of nine Red Line stations – from Cermak/Chinatown to 95th/Dan Ryan – will create hundreds of jobs for construction workers and bus drivers. But what it’s not talking about is the impact this five-month project will have on the workers who earn their livings near the... 

the subway line, at various kiosks, restaurants and local businesses.

The CTA is hosting two public hearings this week, on Monday and Thursday. But these are unlikely to quell the significant outrage the massive reconstruction project has sparked in users of the line, many of whom complain that they weren’t consulted before decisions were made to totally shutdown the line for almost half a year.

Betty Domagala, assistant manager of Jim’s Original, 16 E. 95th St., said the news of the Red Line closure felt almost like the shock of losing a job.

“We can’t do anything. We just have to find a way to survive and make the best of it. Nobody can stop the city.” Domagala said, adding that she doesn’t think the city cares about how the closure will affect commuters and businesses.

In her 19 years as an employee at Jim’s, Betty Domagala said she has never seen a closure like the one the CTA has planned for next summer--the busiest time of the year for Jim’s, which doesn’t have an indoor area for customers. “It’s gonna kill us,” Domagala said. “Not only the customers but the employees.” All photos by Brent Lewis.

The CTA will reroute commuters through shuttle buses to Green Line stations and provide additional bus service.

Up the stairs from the 95th/Dan Ryan L platform, a Dunkin’ Donuts bustles with customers picking up coffee and donuts for their commute on the Red Line.

Manager Ivory Rufus worries that customers won’t stop in if they are catching buses instead on either side of the transit station come next summer.

“Everybody is going to be rushing to get on the buses. Nobody is going to come in and wait when they’re trying to cram those buses,” he said. “It’s hectic now, when this happens it’s going to be even worse.” 

the subway line, at various kiosks, restaurants and local businesses. Read More at Chicago Muckrakers blog

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