$23 million in TIF funds will make Blue Line IMD station accessible

The CTA will use TIF funding in a $23 million project to renovate the Blue Line’s Illinois Medical District CTA station.

Medical Center Ogden entrance. Photo by George Krambles, courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson Archives, via Chicago-L.org.

Medical Center Ogden entrance. Photo by George Krambles, courtesy of the Krambles-Peterson Archives, via Chicago-L.org.

The project will make all three entrances accessible to riders with disabilities. The tax-increment financing (TIF) funds will help rebuild the main stationhouse on Ogden Avenue, by adding an elevator and new stairs. The project also includes the reconstruction of two station-to-platform ramps at auxiliary entrances at Damen Avenue and Paulina Street to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.

Constructed in 1958, the station is the closest CTA rail stop for the nation’s largest urban medical district, the Illinois Medical District (IMD), which is home to four major hospital systems – the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Rush University Medical Center and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.

The Illinois Medical District has more than 29,000 employees, has more than 2,200 hospital beds and gets about 75,000 visitors each day. It is also the state’s largest biotechnology/medical complex and an incubator for about 30 emerging technology-based companies. The IMD station also serves Malcolm X College and the United Center.

Over the last five years, ridership at the IMD Blue Line station has increased by 53 percent, to nearly 1.1 million station entries last year, making IMD the third-busiest station on the Blue Line’s West Side Forest Park branch.

Additionally, the project includes improving station and platform lighting; installing additional security cameras and CTA Bus and Train Tracker displays, and making repairs to the station platform canopy. The two auxiliary entrances, at Damen and Paulina, will also be refurbished with new flooring, wall/ceiling finishes, fare-payment equipment and customer assistant kiosks.

With the exception of the Damen entrance, which was renovated in 1998, the station has otherwise only received minor patchwork repairs since it first opened 55 years ago.


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  • It's about time! I don't know what took sooooooooooooooooo long but when you're in a wheelchair, life is already hard enough.

  • It can't be the closest stop to the Medical District as the Polk St. station of the Pink Line is within the District itself.

  • This is the second ADA accessible stop announced by CTA on the Blue Line in recent weeks that ignored their own 2012 Infrastructure Accessibility Task Force report recommendations about the stations most in need of accessibility improvements. Why convene a task force if you are going to ignore it? The Belmont Blue Line station also did not rank as one of the top 3 accessibility priorities.


  • In reply to josephm:

    Sometimes you have priorities, but if you can get the money for a project it will take priority. I'm guessing the fact they have TIF money overrides the report. The report is for if they are using capital funds. TIF funds can only be used in a certain area where they were collected.

  • In reply to chris:

    Baloney. TIF funds can be used to do anything the mayor wants to do.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    If only he'd spend some of it on new switches at Granville.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Emanuel claims no, and posted a list of TIFs. Problem is, each is block by block. But if you have a couple of weeks, you can go through it.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Technically, money from an individual TIF district may only legally be used inside of that same district. But I highly doubt things end up play out like that in the land of "Corruptus in Extremis," where some TIF districts exists in areas that were never "blighted," and thus not legal to form in the first place.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    Legally, no.

  • If any station needs a people mover, this is it. Those ramps are loooong.

  • Actually IMD is already accessible to wheelchairs, so this is basically a renovation. Belmont/Blue with it's ridership needs accessibility, but that would mean two elevator shafts, but one could argue why downtown stations like State/Lake elevated which is really old or Washington/Dearborn which is basically outside City Hall and the Daley Center, don't get accessibility. I would think downtown stations would outrank outlying areas.

  • In reply to Bushunter:

    Only the west entrance (at Damen, the least convenient to the core of the IMD) is accessible, the entrances at Ogden and Paulina are not. The station area is spread out over three blocks, serving the most heavily utilized paratransit destination outside downtown Chicago. Paratransit trips per rider cost taxpayers bigtime, and anything that makes it easier for paratransit users to switch to bus/rail service that's already going to operate anyway is the more fiscally (and socially) responsible route.

    What's absolutely insane is that there is already a ramp (granted, not ADA compliant, but still usable by many wheelchair users such as myself) from the platform up to the Paulina entrance, yet no way to get out because there's just a floor-to-ceiling rotogate that's way too small to even fit even the smallest wheelchairs (or strollers, for that matter) through. I see no reason why the Paulina stationhouse couldn't get a cheap, short-term retrofit that would make it usable as such almost immediately, instead of waiting until the full renovation is complete.

    Also, downtown stations are spaced much more closely than stations out in the neighborhoods, so IMO it's more important to get accessiblilty complete in the outlying areas once a reasonable handful of downtown stations are complete. As it is, one can get off at Clark/Lake and enter the City Hall/County building without ever stepping outside via the basement food court at the Thompson Center. Try getting from somewhere near the Belmont Blue Line stop to the Logan Square stop just as easily.

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