Englewood Residents Overwhelmingly Back Reopening Racine Green Line Station. CTA Says It’s ‘Fully Committed’ to the Idea

A mile-long gap between Green Line stations. That’s what some Englewood residents have faced for nearly 30 years since the Racine Green Line station closed.

After years of efforts to reopen the shuttered stop, there’s been momentum in recent months — including an outpouring of support at the ballot box last week, with 93% of area voters calling on the CTA to get Racine back up and running.

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When the CTA closed the Racine stop on the Green Line in January 1994, it was supposed to be a temporary closure for repairs. The station never reopened.

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Lifelong resident Taqi Thomas said the closure is “a sign of what the city of Chicago has done to the Englewood area.”

“To get off at Halsted or to get off at Ashland, we have to spend extra money on CTA fare to travel back toward Racine,” said Thomas, director of community engagement, safety and intervention with the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN). “Or we had our young people traveling through areas that was uncharted for them, through different neighborhoods, trying to get back to Racine, which caused a safety issue.”

For years, local leaders have pushed to get the station reopened. They got an advisory referendum on the ballot in the Feb. 28 election, asking voters whether they wanted to see Racine back up and running.

“93% of voters, not only in the precinct of this station or surrounding precincts, but all precincts of the 16th Ward voting yes and demanding that the station be reopened,” said IMAN’s Sana Syed.

In March of last year, the CTA told WTTW News it didn’t have the funding needed to reopen the station. The CTA also said a 2017 ridership study found the station would see fewer average weekday rides than when it was closed in the 1990s.

By December of last year, CTA president Dorval Carter said in a Sun-Times op-ed: “The CTA, and the city, are fully committed to pursuing a reopened Racine Green Line station and making it a vital component of the community’s revitalization.”

And in January, the CTA got $2 million in federal funding for a “feasibility study” on reopening the stop.

“There’s community support, CTA support, and there’s already some catalytic investments going on, so that’s a really good opportunity,” said Audrey Wennink, senior director for transportation at the Metropolitan Planning Council.

She said it’s not just about improved travel times — it’s a way to add momentum to ongoing economic development and quality of life improvements.

“Opening the station could even build further upon that, help attract population, and create a much more walkable and vibrant area,” Wennink said.

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The CTA said the effort is still in the early stages, with the full cost and timeline unclear. The transit agency told WTTW News in a statement: “As with all CTA planning processes, communication and coordination with the community will be an important component, and the CTA looks forward to discussion with all community stakeholders and residents.”

“For residents, this is a no-brainer,” said Cecile De Mello of Teamwork Englewood. “For a lot of decision makers, it either is or should be a no-brainer to open something that should have never been closed, and to put a concentrated effort in supporting corridors in Englewood such as Racine.”

The CTA told WTTW News the estimated price tag could be as high as $100 million, including reconstructing the station house and platform and doing historic preservation work. The agency said the first step is preliminary design and engineering work. Once that’s done, the CTA can determine how to proceed and which local and federal sources might fund the project.

Community Reporting Series

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