Red Line closure to affect Cell reception

After months of anticipation, the Chicago Transit Authority’s reconstruction project will be moving south from the Loop to the Dan Ryan branch of the Red Line May 19.

The project will stop services from 95th/Dan Ryan to Cermak-Chinatown, meaning that the Chicago White Sox could be facing a potential accessibility issue due to the Sox-35th stop residing within that bracket.

According to Scott Reifert, the team’s vice president of communications, the closure won’t do too much damage to overall attendance numbers.

“About 14 percent of our fans use the Red Line, and most of those fans are pretty sophisticated when it comes to travel,” said Reifert. “We don’t expect it to have a major impact.”

The Sox rank 24th in the major leagues, drawing 20,105 fans per game. That 14 percent accounts for nearly 3,000 paying customers who must take a new route.

Luckily, there are options. There will be free 24-hour shuttle buses from several closed Red Line stops that will transport riders to various locations on the Green Line. From there, customers can ride Red Line trains on the Green Line tracks as far south as 63rd Street, meaning Sox-35th is still very much in play.

In addition, the CTA appears to have done a very good job of keeping the public informed about the closings.

“I’m aware of the construction,” said DePaul junior Saleem Touny. “It probably won’t affect me going to the games. I’ll probably drive or find another way.”

Most fans feel the same way, especially since the vast majority tends to travel by car in the first place. But some students who don’t have cars are at a disadvantage.

“I won’t be able to make the games right off of the Red Line,” said junior Stephanie Arroyo. “I think this is a bad thing for the Sox. There won’t be as many people going to the games.”

Construction will be a continuous problem throughout the rest of the season. The project is slated to last five months, which, while inconvenient, will expedite a process that would normally take four years if confined to the weekends.

Transportation will be a hassle, but the White Sox believe it’s just a bump in the road for attendance.

“It’s going to a little bit of a longer walk, but we think it won’t be too much bigger of an inconvenience,” said Reifert.

Of course, there is an obvious solution right in front of the team. With a 12-15 record as of May 3, perhaps a few more wins would put a few more fans in the Cell’s seats.