City to build two new rail stations; one on Green Line, another on Loop L

In a burst of CTA construction activity, Mayor Emanuel Tuesday announced the construction of two new CTA rail station.

One new station will serve McCormick Place at Cermak on the Green Line. Construction is scheduled to begin in February 2013 on the $50-million, TIF-supported project, with completion set for July 2014. The platform will be a center-island configuration for an eight-car train with canopy coverage for six cars.   The station also will include an auxiliary exit to the north side of 23rd Street. It will help fill the two-mile-long void on the Green Line between the Roosevelt and 35th/Bronzeville stations.

The second station on the east side of the Loop elevated structure will replace two separate century-old stations on Wabash at Randolph and Madison.   The new station will be located along Wabash Avenue south of Washington Street. The Washington/Wabash Loop L station will cost about $75 million to build over about 18 months, with construction set to begin in April 2013. The fare controls, stairs, escalators, elevators, electrical, security and communications rooms will be on the mezzanine level, according to a press release.  The station will be entirely new and will meet ADA standards with new elevators from the street to mezzanine and platform levels.   The platform capacity will be enlarged from the existing 7’-6” width to 10’ to 13’ widths.

The mayor also mentioned the upcoming renovation project of the Clark/Division Red Line station. Here are details from the press release:

This $86.6 million subway renovation project includes the construction of a brand new 6,300 square-foot mezzanine for the Clark/Division Red Line subway station.   It will be the first new mezzanine to be constructed since the Red Line subway was originally built in the 1940s.  In addition to the new mezzanine at LaSalle, the original Clark mezzanine and platform will also be completely renovated and brought up to current CTA standards.

The project highlights include: energy efficient lighting; new fare collection equipment; granite floors; state-of-the-art communication and security equipment; new signage; new enclosed stairs and escalators; and new wall and ceiling architectural finishes.  The renovation of this station will upgrade the deteriorated an out-of-date facility and enhance the station’s appearance and operation.

Construction of the new mezzanine and platform at LaSalle Street will begin in March and will be completed in 24 months.  Than the 12-month renovation of the existing platform and mezzanine at Clark Street will begin, with the entire project completed by March 2015.

These projects were expected to create about 4,000 new jobs, either directly or indirectly, said Emanuel. The mayor made the announcement while reviewing the recently completed rehab of the Grand/State Red Line station. More on that project Thursday.


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  • The city and the CTA are dreaming if they think people attending conventions will take the Green Line and walk at least 2 full city blocks (further to the Main entrance) to McCormick place. Most major conventions offer shuttle bus service door to door from downtown hotels. Probably the only event that would create decent ridership is the auto show which has a majority of local residents used to riding the CTA. I'm sorry I feel a new station there is a waste given the shortage of money and the huge list of repairs needed on nearly all lines. The red line stop is only about 1 1/2 blocks west! I say use the money and fix slow zones throughout the system. It would improve the commute for far more people than a new green line station. Of course a press conference to fix slow zones is far less glamorous than one announcing a brand new station.

  • In reply to Matt:

    I agree that few conventioneers will take the Green Line due to the shuttles you mention and the Metra Electric station INSIDE McCormick Place. I've seen free tickets and passes issued to conventioneers for travel between Millenium/Van Buren and 23rd St. Also, there *are* other events than the Auto Show that attract locals to McCormick Place, and I've seen plenty of people (including me) travel there by CTA bus or Metra, both of which are closer than the Green Line.

    But I imagine the Green Line station is aimed primarily at the *workers* at McCormick Place and the surrounding hotels, secondly at the surrounding neighborhood (there *is* one), and only a distant third at people attending events at McCormick.

  • In reply to Matt:

    IMO the new Green line station is a great choice. Sure it is debatable how many conventioneers will use the CTA going to and from McCormick, but what cannot be argued is that this area of the South Loop/Near South Side is now flush with transit options, plenty of developable land now that Harold Ickes is gone and has a bright future with the renewed focus on treating Motor Row as a entertainment district. The new station could spearhead a lot of future private investment in the area.

  • The station house & waiting room on the Inner Loop platform at Randolph/Wabash is from about 1962.
    Marshall Field's paid for most of it as there was a direct entrance to the store from the mezzanine through the china department of all places. I always wondered how many pieces were knocked down & broken as people with shopping bags went through there to the L.

  • Well, at least for once they're using common sense & moving the tracks apart & building a center island platform at Cermak. That will save millions in future costs for its operation & maintenance. Why this wasn't done with the rest of the stations from Indiana to Garfield baffled me until I realized that the head of the CTA at the time was that complete incompetent Kreusi!
    I remember the old Cermak station with its really narrow platforms, identical to the current State/Lake platforms.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Unfortunately, Scooter, today you are engaged in revisionism. Let's put blame where blame belongs.

    The Green Line project was finished in 1996 or so. Belcaster was in charge during most of it. Kruesi didn't come on until 1997, after Mosena instituted the 1997 service cuts and then immediately went to the Museum of Science and Industry.

    The fact is that the Green Line was a cheap job, and the main concerns were (a) whether certain stations were in certain gangs' territories, and (b) whether the CTA saved operating costs by closing it for two years. In that they did stuff like not replace the Garfield station until several years later, and slow zones were not really eliminated show the meager scope of that job.

  • In reply to jack:

    Yeah, I forgot about that crook Belcaster.
    The next dumbest thing they did in the Green Line rebuild was not lowering the tracks over the abandoned rail right of way between 39th & 41st. That could have been easily done & at no extra cost. Plus not getting rid of that S curve & replacing it with a eased pair of 45° turns has saddled the CTA with loads of extra & more expensive maintenance.
    But that's the CTA, they always take the quick, cheap way which always costs more in the long run than spending a fraction more at the beginning & greater savings over the long run.
    They seem to know that construction & operating funding are different, but don't know how to properly use the construction funds to make the operating costs lower.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Of course, there was always the question whether the South Side Main was worth retaining at all, since most of the passenger traffic migrated to the Dan Ryan. Again, I just write it off to placating vocal elements down there.

  • In reply to jack:

    For the heartwarming news about what Frank Kruesi & his wife [who was Daley's gatekeeper] are up to, read Greg Hinz's column in Crain's
    Gag, choke, vomit!!!!!

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    Scooter - they're not moving the tracks apart. As you mention elsewhere, unnecessary curves on the alignment increase wear on the rolling stock.

    What CTA is doing, according to their own RFP (posted briefly on their website) is building a staggered island configuration, much like Loyola. This allow the posts supporting the canopy to be moved to the far edge of the platform opposite the berthing train - so on the north half of the platform, posts will line the westerm edge of the platform, and on the south half, they will line the eastern edge. This is done to allow for full ADA accessibility on the platforms.

    Entrances will be on the north side of Cermak, south side of Cermak (this is the staffed one) and the north side of 23rd.

  • In reply to ardecila:

    Maybe CTA's PDF is wrong, but it shows the new Cermak station not having staggered berthing like at Loyola:

    It also shows an ADA ramp at the 23rd St. entrance in a winding configuration fitting the narrow space between the NB and SB tracks.

    This ramp format would easily fit between the local tracks on the MED to cheaply (than elevators) upgrade the Main Line stations between 75th and 115th St.'s to ADA Compliance.

  • This is great news about Clark/Division & the Loop stations. Clark/Division is in terrible shape. The mezzanine is cramped, the platform is dark, and there is only one stairway to the platform from the mezzanine. It has been in serious need of work for awhile. The street level disruptions are probably going to be really annoying, but they did it for Grand, so we'll just have to deal with it for a few years.

    I'm really glad about the Wabash stations, those are just awful. The rendering of the new station that Curbed has is really cool (, but not sure if it is realistic or not, I would question how the curved glass ceiling would hold up in elements. Hopefully though by going from 3 stops on Wabash to 2 it will have a noticeable improvement in service. This will just leave State/Lake in desperate need of replacement of the Loop stations.

  • In reply to joeconey:

    For that matter they should do something about Lake/State, which has been an eyesore for over a century. I would suggest direct elevator connection with the State/Lake subway station, but that would imply that someone (CDOT, CTA) get easements in the adjoining buildings, such as they did with the Thompson Center and the building across the street.

    For that matter, there is still the question of the abandoned State/Washington station, for which we can give credit to Daley and Kruesi. There ain't gonna be any Airport Express nor Block 37 station.

  • I think the McCormick place stop is a decent idea, although it still seems to be a bit of a walk. Not too bad though.

    But what I think is needed most is a stop at Madison on the Pink Line, for the United Center. The train goes RIGHT BY the UC. How the heck is there not a stop there?

  • In reply to Nirvana91:

    Came here to say this. I despise the 20 bus. Checking for a 19 last Thursday at 6:55 before a 7:30 puck drop showed no buses. A train would be so much better since it does not have to deal with rush hour traffic.

    I did take the Blue Line to Medical Center a couple weeks ago for a Hawks game, and my buddy and I were the only ones on it for the game. It lets out 2-3 blocks away.

  • So we're suing TIF money to make it easier for out of towners to get to McCormick Place instead of using it to improve schools or keep the libraries open Mondays.

    So much for the mayor's priorities.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    If you believe what your mayor said, the press release says "The station, located in the two mile-stretch between the existing Roosevelt and 35th/Bronzeville stations will provide much needed access to rapid transit for neighborhood residents and businesses."

    Also there were reports that people want to establish a Chess Records blues bar zone around that station, so it isn't totally for McCormick Place.

    BTW, da Mare says that this station is TIF money, so it can't be spent outside the TIF district.

  • BTW, at least watching NewsRaw, the main subjects of that press conference were (a) laws against G8 protesters (b) the robbery in Bridgeport, and (c) whether Rahm would endorse Jesse "My brother was going to buy me a Senate seat" Jackson Jr. or "Bug Eyed" Debbie Halverson, who da Mare said he recruited to run in her old district.

    Of course, not to mention the numerous anchors saying that the CTA was doing the projects, and not showing F.G.C. in the background.

  • Some of the above commenters are onto something. The Cermak station will spur redevelopment of the Ickes Homes property, Motor Row, and the Cermak corridor itself (which the Central Area Plan envisions as a high-rise canyon and a major retail node for the South Loop/Bronzeville).

  • In reply to ardecila:


    Hopefully sometime in the near future they wise up and turn the Stevenson East of the Dan Ryan into a boulevard as well. Really open up the neighborhood for potential.

  • When are they going to start the Washington/Wabash station so they can remove Randolph/Wabash and Madison/Wabash? Also, they renovated the head house at North/Clybourn, why aren't they giving that station a "Grand" style renovation at the platform level the platform level at North/Clybourn looks almost as bad as Clark/Division.

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