Competition launched to design 3 CTA BRT stations

Competition launched to design 3 CTA BRT stations
Proposed design for BRT in Central Loop corridor.

Transit designers will vie for a $3,000 first prize in a competition to design three different Chicago bus rapid transit stations (BRT).

The Chicago Architectural Club and the Chicago Architecture Foundation, in partnership with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Chicago Bus Rapid Transit Steering Committee, have launched the 2013 Burnham Prize Competition: NEXT STOP – Designing Chicago BRT Stations. "This single-stage international design ideas competition is intended to be a catalyst for iconic, sustainable, and functional design for Chicago’s planned BRT system," according to the press release.

Design teams will submit ideas for three different sites, demonstrating how BRT station design can be adapted to different contexts. Stations to be designed are:

  • Downtown near State and Madison.
  • Bucktown-Logan Square at Western Avenue Blue Line ‘L’ stop.
  • Pilsen near 18th and Ashland.

"'Next Stop' is an unprecedented opportunity for the design community to have a true impact in building the future of the city of Chicago," says Karla Sierralta, co-president of Chicago Architectural Club. From the release:

BRT service offers faster, more efficient, and more reliable travel than traditional bus service. Designed for busy streets with high vehicle traffic, BRT systems can integrate a number of features, including:

  • Dedicated bus lanes or separate bus right of way from normal street traffic.

  • Transit signal priority which extends green lights and shortens red lights for buses.

  • Fewer stops and additional customer amenities, including pre-paid fare collection, neighborhood maps, and digital displays with bus and train arrival information.

  • A uniquely-identifiable fleet of vehicles with a distinct look and brand.

  • Special stations designed to increase the speed, comfort, and ease of travel.

Entries are due May 13. View competition rules. Winner of the 2013 Burnham Prize will be announced at an event at Chicago Architecture Foundation on June 6, 2013.

The Chicago BRT Steering Committee includes: Chicago Department of Transportation, CTA, Metropolitan Planning Council, Active Transportation Alliance, Urban Land Institute, Civic Consulting Alliance and ITDP with support from Rockefeller Foundation and Chicago Community Trust.


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  • That's nice, someone is sponsoring a competition for two of the three BRT stations that have very little chance of actually being built.

    I see no competition for Washington St., where the main challenge will be to develop of means of preserving the stop especially when snow gets plowed all over it.

    But this seems to be where the private Rockefeller Foundation money is going, so I hope they are satisfied with the results.

  • There are already hundreds, if not thousands of BRT stops in the world, why not just pick one of those?
    Los Angeles has a couple of dozen on the Orange Line, I used them!
    I know it's private money, but this just shows that private money is wasted just as much as public money.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    The Pilsen one probably will be based on L.A. You know it won't reflect its Bohemian heritage from 80 or more years ago.

  • The CTA should go to Europe especially Gearmany to get a clue as Cta have no idea what they are doing,they can't even figure out what a elevator is in most of thier stations,it was invented in 1853

  • Most of the CTA rail was built on the cheap by the thieves who bribed the city council to get the franchise to operate the rail system.
    The way they made money was to have fewer trains than necessary so the profits came from the huge amounts on standees.
    We still have stations built in 1900! In those days, they thought nothing to make people walk up three flights of stairs to a train.
    It costs millions to add elevators to old L stations & several hundred million to rebuilt a subway station. Each renovated subway station costs more than the entire subway construction did in the 1940s!

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