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Red Line Rehab Will Make State Street Not Great Street for Parking

By Wendell Hutson | February 28, 2013 7:25am | Updated on February 28, 2013 8:46am
 Residents along South State Street will not be able to park in front of their homes, beginning May 19, because of the reconstruction of the Red Line's south route.
Residents along South State Street will not be able to park in front of their homes, beginning May 19, because of the reconstruction of the Red Line's south route.
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DNAinfo/Wendell Hutson

CHATHAM —When George Landfair bought his South Side home 52 years ago, he did so, in part, because he was able to park in front of it.

But from May 19 until Oct. 19, Landfair, a 77-year-old retired manufacturer, will have to find somewhere else to park, thanks to the extra buses being routed down State Street during the massive Red Line rehab project.

"I am not happy about this at all. I am an old man, and I have no business parking in alleys or around the corner," said Landfair, who lives in the 8600 block South of State Street. "There are too many seniors that live around here for us to be walking long distances and parking in unsafe areas."

But finding alternative places to park is exactly what Landfair and other South Side residents living along State will have to do when the CTA starts the reconstruction of the Red Line's south route from Cermak Road to 95th and State Street.

"There will be restricted parking along State Street to make way for the extra buses that will carry riders to the Green Line," said Steve Mayberry, a spokesman for the CTA. "It is not our intent to inconvenience residents, which is why we announced the project last year."

Mildred Swan, 46, said she could not care less when the CTA announced its intent to re-do the Red Line.

"If my job told me last year I would be laid off, does that help me pay my bills when the time rolls around for me to be let go?" asked Swan, an accountant who lives in the 7900 block of South State Street.

"We already have to deal with traffic from the [Chatham Ridge Shopping] mall and the new Wal-Mart that opened up, and now you throw this into the mix," said Swan.

What's more, in January, Charles Jenkins, pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on the South Side, announced the church would be moving into the former headquarters of Johnson Products Co. at 8522 S. Lafayette Ave.

The pending move by the church, and now the upcoming Red Line project, have residents even more concerned about parking.

"I don't want to complain because it is a church, but at the same time I don't want to be inconvenienced either," said Angelo Holman, a 32-year old massage therapist who lives in the 8300 block of South State Street. "I have lived here my whole life and parking has never been a problem, especially on Sundays, but with this new church moving down the street that could change."

Four shuttle buses will travel up and down State Street, taking riders to Green Line stations. During this project, the No. 29 bus will continue along its normal State Street route as well.

That's more than enough for Craig Cathey, 38, who lives in the 9200 block of South State Street.

"State Street has always been a busy street. People take it to avoid the expressway, and there are a lot of businesses located on State Street, which contributes to the traffic jams around here,"  Cathey said. "Asking residents to park elsewhere when we pay taxes to park in front of our home is foul if you ask me."