Grand station rehab was worth the wait, aggravation

The city finished its three-year rehabilitation of the Red Line’s Grand/State station on time in December. And Mayor Rahm Emanuel made it official at a press conference Tuesday at the busy River North station.

It took about $74 million and various detours and traffic configurations at Grand and State, but the wait was worth it, as these photos show.

But I do have one criticism: There are only three entrances from the four corners. The southeast corner has an up escalator only from the mezzanine level. As if that’s not bad enough, the entrance at the northeast corner is recessed into the building housing the Weber Grill restaurant. So it’s hard to see it.

I see this being a real problem for the swarms of Cubs fan-tourists migrating from Michigan Avenue: Those coming from the southeast have to cross State Street to enter the station. And if they are coming from the north, tourists may totally miss the recessed entrance. The problem on both sides of the street is that the sidewalk is not wide enough to accommodate the station opening.

Check out before and after photos here. And the CTA Flickr set here.


Leave a comment
  • IIRC Chicago-State doesn't have entrances on all 4 corners. If someone is going to Mich. Ave., there is the wide entrance-exit on the SE corner of Chicago-State.

    The real questions are if it doesn't smell like urine, like it did before the rehab, and if it won't leak, unlike Roosevelt-State.

  • In reply to jack:

    It has been a while since I have been there, but I seem to recall there being entrances/exits on all four corners. The southwest corner only has an elevator which I would avoid using unless absolutely necessary.

  • In reply to eBob:

    At least my observation was based on the "elevator only" corner.

    To go back to Kevin's post, if IIRC correctly, Grand only gets the hordes of Cub fans only to the lower level of Michigan. O.K. if they are going to Nordstroms (how likely?) or The Billy Goat; otherwise, those interested in shopping are probably using Chicago or a Michigan Ave. bus.

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack and eBob: You are correct that Chicago's SW corner just has an elevator. I think it would have been better to put the escalator-only exit on the SW corner of Grand/State to accommodate the Cubs crowds. But it's a small nit-pick.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    I still don't see the Cubs crowd connection. This isn't Addison, and if they are leaving The Billy Goat, there are enough bars in Wrigleyville. Dr. Hartley can take the 151 bus. Tourists are going to be closer to the Water Tower, which is Chicago Ave.

    So, what is the point?

  • In reply to jack:

    Jack, you've obviously never been at the Grand station on Cubs game day. It's a zoo. Trust me.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    I said before that it used to smell like one.

    But I still don't see the connection. People in front of the Shops at North Bridge mall find the stairway down to Grand, but then can't find the subway entrance?

    If the Cubs fans first eat at all the Brazilian steak houses, or the various Frontera restaurants, that's west of the station.

  • In reply to jack:

    I was confused too, but my guess is that it is the out of town Cubs fans who are staying in hotels along Michigan Ave. If not, I have no idea why they would be so prominent there.

Leave a comment