Bryn Mawr cleanup underway; major rebuild two years out

Bryn Mawr cleanup underway; major rebuild two years out
Last year crews stripped broken tile from some sections of the Bryn Mawr stairwell. Photo by Patrick Barry.

The CTA began a “deep cleaning” project this past weekend at the Bryn Mawr Red Line station, and announced at a community meeting Monday night that a complete rebuild, with an elevator and full accessibility, will begin in about two years.

The office of Ald. Harry Osterman announced last week that Bryn Mawr would get short-term improvements that include “a deep cleaning of the station and auxiliary exit, new light fixtures, new wall finishes, replacement of station doors and rotogates, new heaters, pigeon abatement and new signs.”

Work began last weekend with the removal of broken tile and loose concrete from stairwell walls, which have sported for years a grim patchwork of tile, glue and broken concrete. CTA’s Steven Mascheri, General Manager – Construction, said that the dark and smelly auxiliary exit would also get some attention.

The bigger news was that the Bryn Mawr station will be completely rebuilt in about two years. Ald. Osterman said that about $25 million has been allocated for the Bryn Mawr project “and that could grow.” CTA’s Vice President for Infrastructure, Carole Morey, added that the new station would be fully ADA accessible and include an elevator.

With Bryn Mawr added to the list, that makes 10 Red North stations getting some form of re-investment. Seven stations are receiving major facelifts including  new platforms and rebuilt stationhouses as part of the $86 million Red North Interim Station Improvements project; Loyola is undergoing viaduct repairs and getting a new entrance plaza through an $11 million joint venture with Loyola University; and Wilson is in the design phase for an estimated $200 million rebuild as an express-transfer station.

Track all the North Red action at CTA Station Watch; see photo sets on its Facebook page.



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  • I really wish they could rebuilt Bryn Mawr as a dual-platform local/express transfer station. If they also were also able to add platforms at Loyola for the express tracks, it would permit NYC-style express and local trains full time once the new Wilson station opens as well. I know this probably won't happen as it would require major land aquisition and significant building demolition.

    Alternative B would be the station closures and addition of several auxiliary entrances, but of course this proposal has already sent people into a tizzy. I just think it's ridiculous how closely spaced the stations North of Sheridan's supposed to be RAPID transit!

    I really hope when it's Sheridan station's turn for a rebuild they do it right and eliminate the S-curve which reduces speed, the capacity of the entire line and causes extra wear and tear on the trains. I think this may actually happen since I don't see any other way to make Sheridan accessible....unless of course they move the station to be along the segment just North of Irving Park. They may also sell this option as being a better station location to "fill the long gap" better between Sheridan and Wilson.

  • In reply to Matt:

    Loyola's long platform is because it used to be an express station. there are crossovers there already for it.

  • In reply to whateva:

    I could be wrong, but I think the original purpose was to separate the heavy passenger loads waiting to go southbound from those alighting northbound, due to the extreme narrowness of the platform space.

  • In reply to bms2535:

    I remember when Loyola was on the maps as a transfer station, but also personally remember that it ceased to be so by 1976. 's Loyola station page confirms this.

    Since the station was rebuilt later ( says between 1977 and 1982), one can't make an inference that the configuration was motivated by service that ended in 1976. Hence I tend to go along with bms's interpretation.

  • In reply to jack:

    I checked some old aerial images at dating from the time just before Loyola's 1980 reconstruction, and they show just a one-train-length platform. Apparently express trains switched northbound to the inner tracks between Granville and Loyola and also served Morse (but not Jarvis) on their way to Evanston.

    A better aerial from pre-1980 from shows platform length as well:

  • In reply to Matt:

    Making Sheridan accessible within the existing alignment would actually be possible given the existing layout, which I explain in my 2nd to last comment at the below link.“voting-with-their-feet”-says-rahm-and-more-red-north-investment-on-the-way/

    Long story short, it involves elevators at the west end of each platform, the empty space behind the existing station house allowing access to such elevator locations, and there still being room for 8-car trains post-elevator installation.

  • In reply to Matt:

    Just as a follow-up to my previous comment; I can't imagine that CTA would realign the Sheridan S-curve before the RPM work; they don't have that kind of $$$ to burn through in the interim for something that would require a ton of property acquisition and demolition.

    And regarding the realigment of the stairwells at Sheridan to allow for an ADA clearance on the side served by trains, it could look something like this, except with the stairwell being wider, going all the way to the left edge of the platform:

  • They're not going to make Bryn Mawr an express station when Wilson is already the designated express station after the rebuild. Too many express stations will defeat the purpose of express.

  • In reply to ibright05:

    Agreed. They'd only be a little over a mile apart each from Howard-Loyola-Bryn Mawr-Wilson-Belmont. Besides, to rebuild Bryn Mawr in such a manner (sans significant demolition) would require a dual level station, with a subway platform below station-house level serving two tracks (say, Purple Line trains) and an elevated platform serving the other two tracks (say, the Red Line).

    I don't know of any four track station like this in the world (though it probably exists in NYC). The only dual level station I know of anywhere in the world is Granville on the Vancouver SkyTrain system, and that only has one track per level.

  • In reply to bms2535:

    I don't think anyone would do that, especially since one is supposedly dealing with an unstable embankment.

    More likely would be condemning property, like CTA did on Wilton St. near Belmont and Fullerton.

    While I can see Bryn Mawr being upgraded because it is the transfer point for the 84 Peterson bus, I don't see any point to making it a transfer station.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yeah, if CTA did that, I'd expect a lot of property condemnation, but when you compare the pre-renovation ROW width at Belmont and Fullerton to Bryn Mawr at present, the latter is much narrower.

    Thus, even more property acquistion and demolition would be required than at Fullerton/Belmont, and then you have to consider whether or not this would have a long-term deleterious impact on the Bryn Mawr commercial corridor, due to the inevitable elimination of many businesses in this scenario.

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