At the Garfield Green Line stop a vacant lot was transformed into a bus depot to shuttle Red Line passengers during construction and it will soon be turned into a park-and-ride once the Red Line is up and running again. Near the University of Chicago, but still in an economically depressed area of the city, CTA officials said it’s the hope the Garfield station — which had been pegged the main station when the city bid for the 2016 Olympics several years ago — will spur transit-oriented development in the neighborhood and prove as another example where transit will spur growth.
Across the city and along the CTA construction, banners hang reading “Building a new Chicago” and Mayor Rahm Emanuel told APTA members he’s using transit as a crucial peg to grow the local economy and bring new life to neighborhoods. And maybe the progress in Chicago inspired the optimism despite the federal political climate because the people I met all talked about economic development they’re seeing in their communities thanks to transit. And maybe they realize a new generation of workers and voters and leaders are seeing this and making transit more of a priority in their communities.