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Residents Riled About Proposed CTA South Loop Station

CHICAGO (CBS) -- You might think it would be welcome: A new CTA "L" station, making it more convenient to get to and from the South Loop.

But some area residents there are fighting against those construction plans.

Along the Chicago River, south of the Loop, just west of Clark Street, will be one of the biggest developments in the city in years. New homes and new businesses. Around 26,000 people are expected to live and work there. And the developer of that project wants a CTA station at 15th and Clark. But South Loop residents are concerned about increased traffic, congestion and crime.

The massive development along the river is called The 78, so named because it will be considered Chicago's 78th neighborhood; set to have 62 acres of housing, businesses and parks. The developer wants a new "L" station at 15th and Clark to serve the people who will work and live there.

Current South Loop resident Lou Major said an "L" station at 15th and Clark would make his life a little easier.

"It would be nice and convenient to have a train station here, considering I live one block to the east," Major said

However, Major also saw a negative effect from the new station.

"The downside would be the amount of traffic here," Major said.

Resident Pamela Focia has another concern.

"We're worried about crime. The Red Line is kind of notorious for crime, and we're worried about that," Focia said.

Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) heard the opposition and, using what's called "aldermanic privilege," is blocking the station at the southeast corner of 15th and Clark close to homes.

"I've been getting bombarded with emails," Dowell said. "I have to represent my constituents, and I have to also be thoughtful to the public transportation needs for the overall city of Chicago."

The 78's developer has another solution: build the station across the street, where it would be in the 25th Ward. Focia and others have not dropped their opposition, but she said "We would like to see their new design."

Dowell is caught in the middle.

"I'm looking for a way to have a new station that supports this new development, supports the existing community," Dowell said. "But does so in a way that doesn't harm either."

A spokesperson for the developer said the company is committed to being a good neighbor. Residents want to meet with the developer.

In the meantime, The 78 is expected to take two decades to complete.

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