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Uptown, Edgewater, Rogers Park

CTA Rolls Out Program To Help North Side Businesses Survive Massive Red Line Construction Project

The Open For Business campaign will seek to get customers to patronize businesses near the massive Red Line overhaul project.

Work to overhaul the north branch of the Red and Purple lines has begun.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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EDGEWATER — North Side businesses near the Red Line are dealing with a double dose of challenges: a devastating coronavirus pandemic and an upcoming massive rail reconstruction project.

The CTA is hoping to help on one of those fronts with the launch of a marketing campaign for shops in the shadow of the Red Line overhaul.

CTA’s Open For Business initiative seeks to drive foot and digital traffic to the many businesses to which access could be restricted by the $2 billion, four-year Red-Purple Modernization project.

The marketing effort will highlight Lakeview, Uptown and Edgewater businesses near the the first phase of the modernization project, which began in earnest last year.

Businesses that sign on to CTA’s program will get signs at stations and construction sites, a website with news and information about the businesses, digital advertising and social media campaigns.

With fewer customers coming from the Red Line, the transit agency is hoping its efforts will make the businesses into destinations for diners and shoppers, said CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase.

“Businesses are really feeling the hurt,” Chase said. “We want to support them in every way we can.”

Next year, the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations will close so new stations and track lines can be built. Temporary stations will be built at Bryn Mawr and Argyle while work continues.

In Lakeview, construction of the Belmont bypass required the demolition of buildings housing neighborhood businesses.

The Red Line project is expected to have “heavy” impacts on the local business community. One jewelry shop has already left its storefront near the Bryn Mawr station for a location in Andersonville.

The marketing initiative will roll out in time for the holiday shopping season, Chase said. The CTA’s plan is similar to Los Angeles’ Go Little Tokyo campaign, which includes a brightly-colored website and social media content.

Businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to apply to be included in the free marketing campaign. The campaign is open to businesses north of Leland Avenue, south of Granville Avenue and east of Clark Street.

Lakeview businesses north of Barry Avenue, south of Newport Avenue, east of Seminary Avenue and west of Clark Street can also participate.

To apply, click here. For more information on the Open For Business program, click here.

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