Harrison Red Line station to get $10 million rehab

Work to rehab the Harrison Street station on the CTA’s Red Line will begin early Monday morning. The $10 million rehab will include structural and cosmetic repairs that will upgrade the 70-year-old station and its three entrances.

Harrison station 1The Polk Street entrance will close Monday for six weeks. During this time, crews will rehabilitate the auxiliary entrance stairway, mezzanine and south end of the platform. Customers will be directed to use the main station entrance located on State Street just south of Harrison. There will be full station closures on five weekends from May through early June.

The rehabilitation work includes building two main entrance canopies, waterproofing to reduce pooling of water in mezzanine and platform areas; installation of new granite flooring; new lighting; and repairs to all three station stairways. The station served 1.4 million people last year.

Upon completion of all project work, the Harrison station will be the first rail station fully-equipped with all new, brighter and more energy efficient LED lighting throughout. The rehabilitated station will also feature modern design elements reflective of the surrounding neighborhood. This project is funded solely with tax increment financing.

The Harrison station project was announced late last summer by Mayor Emanuel as part of a $92 million transportation investment on the Near South Side, including the new Cermak/McCormick Place Green Line station currently under construction, Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) improvements to Roosevelt Road and a new auxiliary entrance at the Roosevelt CTA station.

This entrance on the southeast corner of Harrison and State will get a canopy in the rehab. (Photo by Andrew Stiffler, Chicago-L.org)

This entrance on the southeast corner of Harrison and State will get a canopy in the rehab. (Photo by Andrew Stiffler, Chicago-L.org)


Leave a comment
  • fb_avatar

    Any word on the Clark and Division Red Line Station? I thought they were building a temporary entrance on LaSalle and was gonna work on this project this year?

  • In reply to Kenneth Byrd:

    Kenneth, this work has been going on for well over a year.

  • It's about time! Harrison has been the stepchild of all the stations. Passed over, overlooked, ignored and last on the list. Now that that neighborhood has changed, it's about time that station got a serious upgrade.

    I'm hoping all these stations get elevators because I'm tired of seeing women with those strollers, single, double, & triple struggling up and down those stairs without any help. I know because I've helped tons of these women struggling without elevators especially those double & triple ones.

    Elevators for all!

  • I don't understand how the City of Chicago can legally decide to spend $10M to rehab one station with TIF funds but also consciously decide not to tap the same TIF pool to a level that would make the very same station ADA compliant. Are TIF funds part of the available budget for infrastructure projects or not? It looks an awful lot to me like the City of Chicago (the Mayor, CTA, CDOT) games the budget on individual station projects to never have to add accessibility to a remodel, only to total rehabs.

  • In reply to josephm:

    What you say isn't true, since CDOT is also remodeling Clark and Division and is installing elevators at and extension to that station at LaSalle.

    If you are interested in an answer, you'll have to look into the DOT ADA regulations, which are at 49 CFR 37.9. Best of luck to you. However, I figure that in the case of rail facilities, it depends on the extent of the renovation and how close it is to the accessible station at Jackson.

  • In reply to jack:

    Clark and Division is a "complete remodel" according to CTA and includes a "brand-new, 8,800 sq. ft. mezzanine" (close enough to my "total rehab") and a $41.1M price tag. Remodel, rehab, renovate, and upgrade all seem to get used interchangeably in press releases.

    The latest figures I can find show a $40M uncommitted balance in a $100M account in the Near South TIF that is funding the $10M Harrison project. If the entirety of the budget for this Harrision project is TIF money, how is the top line budget figure for ADA or Illinois Accessibility Code compliance computed?

    The point of ADA is that it is a civil rights law and that politicians and planners choices aren't supposed to be driving the process by their whims. The default is supposed to be adding access. Exceptions are supposed to be documented based on calculations under budgetary formulas contained within the laws. Harrison could be made accessible just like Clark and Division if the Near South TIF balance was used in calculating ADA or IL accessibility code compliance.

    The triggers listed in the ADA regulation you cite and the Illinois Accessibility Code rely on specific percentages and formulas related to cost of accessibility features vs. total station or remodeling costs. It is calculations within these formulas that determines whether access should be added, not the whims of Rahm Emanuel, Forrest Claypool, or the City Council. If the City of Chicago/CDOT/CTA are allowed to move money around no accountability to avoid hitting certain percentages/triggers that would require improvements under ADA or IAC -- it defeats the intent of these laws.

  • In reply to josephm:

    You'll have to ask the head autocrat, Emanuel about that..

    If you look at the regs, the default is not everything gets an elevator.

    If you think the default is that, ask Quinn (who is trying to give the impression that it is his personal money) why the only station on the Blue Line getting an elevator in a $400 million project is Addison.

    For that matter, CTA said that the only reason the 3 stations on the Red South got elevators was that it was out of money saved by shutting it down for 4 months instead of repairing it on weekends for 4 years (like the Blue Line is getting).

    So, since you found the regulations, compute the necessary forumulas. Otherwise, your lengthy statements about the whims of various persons is merely foaming. Go do the research yourself.

  • In reply to jack:

    I'll bet that Addison is getting that elevator, so the fools from the NW Side going to see the millionaire losers at 1060 Addison can get their fat, drunk asses, up from the platform & get on the bus to watch the Cubs lose more games.
    And the reverse order, for their even drunker asses after the Cubs lose the game!

  • In reply to jack:

    ADA follows a "20% rule". If it is possible to add accessible path for 20% more money than the alteration cost, you are required to add it. The Illinois Accessibility Code is more strict. If the cost of alterations is less than or equal to 15% of the reproduction cost of a facility (example: an entirely new Harrison station), access must be built. Of course there are technical exceptions but you have to apply for an exception, you don't assume it. That's why I said the default is access.

    Does the City of Chicago actually run numbers through these access formulas for each project? I don't know. They don't share their work.

    As far as running the formulas as a citizen, you can't just plug in the numbers without detailed project budgets. These details are not made FOIA-able until projects are complete in order to protect the bidding process. So it is actually quite involved to do the research and computations as you suggest, its not just the math. It also likely requires a court to decide who is the overall budgetary authority for individual projects. The Harrison project stood out to me because this CTA Tattler story states 100% of the funds come from a TIF. Projects are usually built with a hodge podge of funding sources and it can be CDOT or CTA that controls any given station project.

    My preliminary conclusion is the City of Chicago does whatever it wants regarding access and nobody checks up on them at the state or federal level. Then every few years Chicago settles a major lawsuit for non-compliance (see Council for Disability Rights v. City of Chicago, Access Living et al. v. Chicago Transit Authority). In the background, the City Council settles many smaller lawsuits related to access or obstructed paths that costs millions of dollars each year.

    I believe embracing access laws as written is a better solution for the City of Chicago than settling lawsuits. Chicago could provide better access than the law requires if it wants to but at a minimum it must follow the ADA and IAC. I'm arguing Chicago should spend money on building access, not on attorneys fees. If that is foaming, so be it.

    Best of luck to you.

  • In reply to josephm:

    I don't need any luck.

    The real issue with your percentages is that to install an elevator, the Chicago, Grand, and Clark & Division jobs show that the street has to be closed for maybe two years and the improvements to the station have to be dug through the street. Then, of course, not only the portions of the station affected have to be rebuilt, but also the street and the utilities in it.

    This "complete" overhaul undoubtedly isn't, but just ineffective waterproofing, putting acoustical panels on the subway walls, and decorative work.

    So, if you really want to sue, you are going to have to find out if all the extra work described to get an elevator would be 15% or 20% of the project budget. I'm not an engineer, but my guess would be 120%.

    As I've said before, the only way to resolve this is for you to sue, as you have indicated that other disability rights organizations did (mostly in the early 90s). You aren't going to be able to settle it on some blog. So, I guess your next step is to find some organization to take up the cause and get into the newspaper "plaintiff's lawyer alleged."

Leave a comment