With CTA crews simultaneously rehabbing two closed north Red Line stations (Thorndale and Argyle), other work has begun at the Loyola station. Loyola is not part of the Red North Station Interim Improvements project, but it is another important piece in the CTA's promise to breathe new life into the 100-year-old end of its most traveled rail line.
In mid-August, the CTA started work on Loyola viaduct repairs, including installing new parapets on the northbound side of the tracks. This past weekend, crews installed new track on the viaduct over Sheridan Road. Much more concrete repair iwill take place in the coming weeks as columns are rebuilt and then painted.
Other improvements slated for the station include:
- Repairs to the platforms and curtain walls.
- New windows, flooring, lighting and interior finishes.
- Additional bike parking (48 total).
- Installation of new high-barrier gate (HBG) turnstiles along Loyola Avenue to provide convenient access to the main stationhouse from the south and west of the station.
Monday, workers began prep work to create a new main entrance on a plaza north and west of the current entrance on Sheridan. Loyola University Chicago will then, in tandem with the CTA, construct a public landscaped plaza on Loyola's private property, creating a new corner.
Loyola entered into a rent-free sub-lease agreement with the CTA to ensure that the plaza remains "public," said a spokesperson. As part of this whole project, Loyola will install planters in the parkways on the east and west side of Sheridan and a new driveway will be constructed that essentially reconnects the grid of the Loyola Avenue-Sheridan Road corner.
It will be signalized and highly identifiable as the intentional crosswalk for pedestrians and the place to stop for vehicles. New left turn lanes will be installed to ease the flow of traffic. Finally the existing, mid-block, blind, dangerous crosswalk will be removed to ensure that people cross at the safer and highly visible crosswalk, where auto drivers will have a better view of the traffic lights and pedestrians.
Total construction cost is approximately $11 million in federal, CTA and private money. Additionally Loyola spent $3.5 million to acquire the land, buy out retail tenants, demolish the old buildings, and pay other incidentals. Finally there is an estimated $3.6 million direct loss of revenue from removing retail tenants and creating a public plaza.
A Loyola spokesperson said it hopes to work out an agreement with the new Special Service Area on Sheridan Road for day-to-day maintenance of the plaza under Loyola's tax-exempt voluntary contributions to the SSA budget.
The Loyola station will remain open during the entire construction period, which should be complete in mid-2013.
We can hardly wait. This is another great project, and a true public-private development.
All photos by Patrick Barry of ctastationwatch.com