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CTA seeks public input on two key ‘improvement’ projects

New platform at Belmont and Sheffield

The CTA says the Belmont Flyover will clear up a bottleneck near that station and allow up to 15 more trains per hour on the Red, Purple and Brown lines. | Sun-Times file photo

The CTA will hold an “open house” on Thursday to gather public input to help craft a vision for how a patch of the Lake View neighborhood will look following the completion of the “Belmont Flyover” — a controversial improvement project that will change the face of several acres of land just south of Wrigley Field.

The CTA is in the process of acquiring 16 properties near the intersection of Belmont and Clark that will be needed to complete the project, which is slated to begin late next year and will take four or five years to complete.

Several of the properties that will be used for construction staging purposes will ultimately be resold to developers, according to CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase.

The CTA plans to gauge what the community would to like see the land be used for, and using that information, create a plan it will share with potential developers to use as a guidepost.

The main purpose of the gathering: “Give us your ideas,” Chase said.

The “Flyover” would elevate northbound Brown Line tracks over Red and Purple Line tracks to alleviate a major bottleneck that occurs at a junction just north of Belmont station.

Critics contend the “Flyover” project — also known as the Red-Purple Bypass — would run an elevated train even higher over existing elevated tracks, creating a transit “roller coaster” that would tower over the Lake View neighborhood.

The meeting on Thursday is scheduled to take place from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on the third floor of the Hoover-Leppen Theatre, 3656 N. Halsted Street.

A second meeting to discuss redevelopment of land around a separate CTA project — the rebuilding of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations and more than a mile of adjacent tracks and track structure — is slated for May 11 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 5917 N. Broadway. The CTA plans to acquire three properties to complete the project, which is also slated to begin late next year and last four or five years.

Both projects are part of the CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization Phase One project, which has a total price tag of $2.1 billion.

Service on the Brown, Purple and Red lines will continue throughout construction, Chase said.