By Kevin Eagen for SUST 210
Back in 2002 as reported in this Daily Herald article by Robert McCoppin, the Chicago Transit Authority considered Schaumburg as an integral part of a major Blue Line extension. Schaumburg mayor Al Larson was the leader and a strong proponent of bringing mass transit to the Northwest suburbs. The updated plan, a southern route that deviated from the initial northern one, was to expand the train line to Bensenville, Itasca, Elk Grove and Schaumburg, thus offering NW suburban residents a direct route to the airport and Chicago. Also, this would have provided benefits for Roosevelt students commuting from Chicago, as the proposed Woodfied stop was under a mile and half from the Schaumburg campus. As for Chicagoans, this offered a quick direct route to various suburbs and Woodfield Mall, one of the largest retail malls in the country.
So why has there been no movement on the project? Will Schaumburg ever experience the benefits of mass transit? The article indicates there are a few hurdles in the way. First, the new proposal excludes towns that were previously in the running to receive mass transit leaving their leaders frustrated, resulting in a project they would rather not fund as it no longer directly benefits their communities.
Second, there was uncertainty whether or not this proposal was tied to the O’Hare expansion. That project may never get off the ground and proponents for expanding mass transit may be opponents of the O’Hare expansion. An additional consideration is that there is a long history of good proposals for CTA improvements and/or extensions, most of which are never started or completed (as summarized here by the Chicago Rapid Transit Coalition).
For the time being, Roosevelt students living in the city will have to rely on a shuttle service that picks them up at the Rosemont CTA stop and drops them off at the Schaumburg campus. The same holds true for students living in the suburbs commuting in the opposite direction. A direct route would have been less cumbersome.
Submitted 23 March 2012