Clark/Division station on CTA Red Line in line for big rehab

The Red Line’s Clark/Division subway station is finally getting a much-needed upgrade.

That was the big news in the Tribune’s Getting Around column Monday. And it will cost about 50% more than the four-year, $67 million Grand/State renovation project that is just winding down.

No doubt much of the extra cost on the $102.5 million Clark /Division project is attributable to adding a second accessible entrance and mezzanine at LaSalle Street. Columnist Jon Hilkevitch reports that the LaSalle portion of the work will begin first and take about three years to complete.

The project will be managed by the Chicago Department of Transportation, which hopes to begin construction next year. The rehab will be funded through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program.

The massive project includes making the station accessible with elevators and renovating the mezzanine and dark, dank platform.

When completed in 2016 or 2017, there would be only two Red Line stations not accessible between Addison in Wrigleyville and Jackson in the Loop: North/Clybourn and Monroe.


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  • How did they get away with working on North/Clybourn and not making it accessable? I thought you had to add an elevator if any work was done at all.

  • Good question Cheryl. But I think the answer is: if you use federal dollars, you would have to add an elevator. All that money was from Apple.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    In that the Clybourn stop was Apple money (and Apple has more cash than the feds), that's probably the correct answer.

    In any event, Anonymous would tell Cheryl to look up DOT's ADA regulations herself. They are on the Internet.

  • Isn't that a picture of the Division stop on the blue line?

  • Doh! You are correct RFlores. My bad. Thanks for noticing. I removed the photo.

  • "I thought you had to add an elevator if any work was done at all."

    Not necessarily. Boiling the relevant Federal regulation (49 CFR 37.43) down to its essence (and I'm a lawyer but this is NOT my area of practice by any measure, so this is the reading of an educated layman), if the cost of a making an altered station fully accessible would be more than 20% of the cost of the total alterations, then it's not required. There's also an exception where full accessibility would be impossible, in which case wheelchair access is not required but accessibility for those less severely disabled could still be required.

    (By the way, the accessibility requirements don't seem to be tied to receiving federal funds. The Americans with Disabilities Act applies to private businesses open to the public and private employers above a certain size, not just governments and recipients of government funds.)

    The North/Clybourn improvements were $3.9 million, of which 20% would be $780,000. Quick googling found that a two-stop hydraulic elevator runs about $80,000-90,000, but North/Clybourn would require at least two if not three such elevators. And that doesn't include the cost of creating the elevator shafts, which I imagine would be particularly difficult for the shaft(s) to the surface. I'm also unsure with the layout of the North/Clybourn station (with the halls and the escalator/stair angles between the surface and the platforms) whether elevators aren't essentially impossible.

  • In reply to jbredin:


  • In reply to jbredin:

    Yes, thanks for bailing me out and finding the real answer!

  • In reply to jbredin:

    Based on what I know about the layout of North/Clybourn, adding an elevator to provide step free access to and from the NB platform would be not to difficult, but to do the same for the southbound platform would require a complete station redesign from the first mezzanine level landing towards the SB platform.

    And can someone tell me why there isn't an escalator up from the mezzanine landing to the station house at street level? I haven't been in a while, so maybe things have changed, but that's always confused me.

  • What I found disappointing about the whole Grand/State renovation is that they did not reopen the Ohio St. auxiliary exits.

  • In reply to eBob:

    eBob: IT begs the question of why CTA decided to have an entrance at LaSalle on Clark/Division, but not at Ohio on Grand/State. I suspect it all comes down to money.

  • I guess I still don't understand the logic of a station opening at LaSalle for Clark and Division. Shoot LaSalle is just as close to the Chicago Platforms on the Brown Line. Why not add passenger access there, too? And eliminating the two Loop stations is yet another step in the CTA master plan of calling diminution of facilities or service an expansion. This goes back to altering the Douglas route slightly and calling it an entirely new line (pink). And as far as the new elevated stations, they are worthy of some of post Soviet industrial design award.

    Those series of platforms on the Wabash leg of the Loop are so iconic, having been the subject of numerous photos and paintings that mark that image of track as Chicago. So Getting around remarks the stations date from 1905. So does the Loop track but that is not being removed. Hilkevitch is over-reaching if he marks this announcement as the first step in a renaissance of Chicago Rapid Transit.

  • "I guess I still don't understand the logic of a station opening at LaSalle for Clark and Division. Shoot LaSalle is just as close to the Chicago Platforms on the Brown Line. Why not add passenger access there, too?"

    Maybe because the Chicago stop is already ADA compliant? Just a guess.

  • I've used the elevator at Chicago or rather the urine box, as I call it. But this is more than ADA access because the LaSalle annex will have a mezzanine and almost everything a station would have. I guess it hasn't been explained why ADA access could not be retrofit to the actual stop at Clark/Division for less than the cost of a whole new station entrance a block away.

  • In reply to oconnorm:

    My guess for this is if they ever build a station on the Brown Line at Division, now that most of Cabrini-Green is gone, it would allow for a closer connection between the Red and Brown on Division.

    Still would require a 1/4 mile walk or so between the stations, though.

  • Seems we're all afraid to admit that a TRUE "renaissance of Chicago Rapid Transit" would entail burying the whole beastly looking "L" underground. Heck, the CTA owns the land underneath the tracks. Too bad the money just ain't there to do it. Such a hideous looking thing.

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