Chicago Blackhawks: Pros And Cons To New United Center “L” Train

By Mario Tirabassi
Oct 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view outside of the United Center before the preseason game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 4, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view outside of the United Center before the preseason game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 23, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Fans walk outside the United Center before game four of the Western Conference Final of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

PRO: New “L” train eases traffic in an already congested area

MT: Lets say then, that a quarter of the people, or rather a quarter of the vehicle traffic, is eased due to local area residents taking the train from the new stop. Not even, 10 maybe 15 percent of vehicle traffic gets eased from the parking lots and surrounding areas due to people taking the trains.

That much of a difference makes it much easier to get in and out of Blackhawks and Bulls games moving forward.

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  • As far as the “sketchy” vibe around the United Center after games goes, sure it’s not fun walking five blocks in the dark back to your car in a small group or even by yourself, if you don’t have the money to park in a lot.

    But imagine, a few years down the line, when there is busier nightlife surrounding the United Center, restaurants and bars open after the games, leading to a higher amount of foot traffic in the area.

    Not vacant lots. Makes the “sketchy” vibes go away and turns the area into what the Blackhawks, Bulls and investors and developers want that West Side neighborhood to become: a new business and entertainment hub in the city of Chicago.

    I used to live in Milwaukee. Milwaukee’s downtown is scrappy, at best. (Sorry if anyone from Milwaukee is reading this, but we both know it’s true.)

    The city is developing a brand new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, and with it a new city center in the heart of downtown. The plan is to revitalize the downtown and grow the business and entertainment district back up and make Milwaukee a destination city again.

    Imagine doing something on the same scale as rebuilding Milwaukee’s downtown, to boost a section of the city of Chicago. Pretty incredible, right? I think it is.

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    CON: Safety and infrastructure

    AG: I grew up in the city and I don’t know a single person who has taken the train to the United Center. I know a lot of people rely on the buses, but I’ve never heard anybody using the Green Line after the game.

    Making the station closer is a good first step, but the security to and from the train will need to be ramped up with CPD. Even though the neighborhood has come a long way, there still is a sketchy vibe around the UC after dark.

    The CTA doesn’t have the greatest reputation for being the safest after hours either, without any attendants patrolling the cars. All I’m saying is that you couldn’t pay me to take the Green Line after a ’Hawks game, but power to those who will.

    The other problem is the parking infrastructure. It’s absolutely terrible trying to get out of the United Center after a game. It’s late, everybody wants to go home, and nobody will let you merge.

    But that’s because nobody is there to direct traffic. There are plenty of people at the start of the game directing traffic and taking your money, but after the game you’re on your own. If the city got some competent people to get the traffic to flow after games, we may no have this logjam problem.

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    Final thoughts

    AG: Who knows, this may be something that works out. I mean, anything is better than getting off the train at Roosevelt and being herded like a bunch of cattle to Soldier Field, right? I honestly get to the UC a little bit early and park on Ogden and get right out after the game. But don’t tell anybody that. Seriously, don’t. You guys can take the train.

    MT: I hope it does work out. I hope the West Side and United Center areas get the development boost they are looking for. I think adding the new “L” stop only bolsters that potential.