After a long wait, the new CTA Yellow Line stop at Oakton Street and Skokie Boulevard officially opened Monday, and Skokie residents could not have been happier about it.
Skokie resident Paul Thompson said he's been waiting for the new Oakton Stop for three years.
"My wife's been dropping me off at the Swift every morning just so I can get to work," Thompson said. "Sometimes, it's a royal pain in the a**, because she's not ready and running late. That's not going to be a problem anymore."
Thompson said he lives just one block from the new stop at Oakton Street and Skokie Boulevard. And while the 37-year-old has been waiting for the newly built station for some time, the people behind it have been waiting much longer.
For Skokie Mayor George Van Dusen, the new station has been something that he and the village (and many others) have been working on for more than a decade. He said the stop is important for a variety of reasons; its neighbor is the Illinois and Science Technology Park (ISTP), which employees about 1,400 people. It's also the focal point of a downtown revitalization effort.
"One of the first things perspective employers [at the ISTP] ask is can their employees get to work easily," Van Dusen said. "The new station is completely related to the rejuvenation plan of [downtown Skokie]."
The new Oakton Stop has an island platform with a canopy accommodating a four-car train. It's also equipped with state-of-the-art technology, digital message boards (eight in all) and heat stations, among other things. Currently, the Yellow Line provides more than 5,000 rides each weekday and an average of 4,000 each weekend. It has an annual ridership of more than 1.5 million, according to the village.
"This is a perfect example of transit-oriented development," said CTA President Forrest Claypool. "Improving and adding CTA service and new CTA infrastructure adds value to and promotes growth in a community."
Check Skokie Patch later this week as we take an in-depth look at how the new station will affect downtown Skokie. Some of the voices include a Skokie resident who is planning to open a new coffee shop just off the new Oakton Stop and a look at how many jobs are coming to Skokie, among other things.