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CTA Would Redevelop Wilton Ave. With Transit-Oriented Projects after Bypass

By Serena Dai | April 17, 2014 5:20pm
 The CTA released renderings of potential developments that would happen by the Belmont L stop after a $320 million proposed "bypass" is complete.
CTA renderings of Wilton development
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LAKEVIEW — When the CTA finishes a massive project to untangle the "L" tracks just north of the Belmont stop, residents living to the east of a proposed bypass might not even see it from their homes, a CTA spokeswoman said.

As part of the $320 million bypass — which was announced Thursday — the CTA envisions having land east of the "L" tracks developed with large, transit-oriented buildings, said Tammy Chase, a CTA spokeswoman.

One possible development would go on undeveloped land currently owned by the CTA on Wilton Avenue, just east of the tracks. Other buildings would go on land on Wilton that still needs to be acquired by the CTA to first construct the south end of the bypass, at the corner of Wilton and School.

 The CTA proposed a new flyover for the Brown Line to ease congestion, officials said.
Belmont Bypass
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Listen to Serena Dai discuss the CTA bypass

The developments would be transit-oriented residential or mixed-used buildings. Part of the goal, Chase said, is to help maintain property values for residents near the bypass.

Neighbors on the east side of the 3200 block of North Wilton have complained that their homes would decline in value once the bypass is complete.

"They won't even see the bypass," Chase said. "That's the thinking."

The CTA announced Thursday initial plans to acquire 16 buildings between Belmont and Addison to construct the bypass — previously referred to as a flyover — for Brown Line trains to pass over existing tracks.

The current configuration of tracks requires trains on three of four tracks to stop and wait for Brown Line trains to cross, which results in more than 40 percent of weekday trains being delayed by as much as three minutes, officials said.

Already, many residents on the west side of Wilton Avenue received notices that their properties may be targeted, to their dismay, they said. Residents on the east side of the street worried over decreasing property values.

But the CTA hopes to develop enough valuable property after the bypass is done so that the residents on Wilton will not see a decline in property values, Chase said.

Their analysis showed that there's demand for transit-oriented developments with multi-family units and retail in the area, Chase said.

"If built the way we think it can be built, Wilton neighbors won't even see the tracks," she said.

Conceptual renderings showed a four-story building with a rooftop deck on the west side of Wilton and Belmont, a block that currently houses a parking lot and has long gone undeveloped as the CTA awaited progress on the bypass project.

A second conceptual rendering shows a six-story building at the corner of Wilton and School and several other homes down the street.

The drawings are starting points to discuss the possibilities with community groups, Chase said.

The CTA wouldn't develop the land itself, but rather sell it to a developer, she said.

"This is not a done deal," she said. "This is not designed, this is not final. This is to get feedback."

A community meeting about the Belmont Station flyover is scheduled from 5:30-7:30 p.m. May 22 at the Town Hall District Police Station, 850 W. Addison St.