CTA to make all rail stations accessible within 20 years

The CTA last week committed to make all rail stations fully accessible within 20 years.

Twenty years.

That should show you how hard it is to get capital funding these days for big-ticket items such as station rebuilds.

The first step to achieving that goal is to develop a “first-ever, comprehensive plan that will outline both short-term and long-term initiatives to make the CTA’s rail system fully ADA accessible over the next 20 years and plans to either repair and/or replace existing rail system elevators.”

Currently, about 32 percent, or 46 out 145 rail stations, are not accessible. So they develop a plan, and here’s how the CTA will do it.

Over the next year, a working group consisting of City of Chicago, CTA, ADA and disability community members, architects and others will be responsible for outlining a high-level cost estimate and schematic schedule for achieving the goal of 100% accessibility – all of which will be dependent on funding. As part of this program, CTA will conduct public outreach to solicit feedback from the general public and disability community, which will be taken into consideration before the report is finalized sometime in early 2017.

The Red Line’s Clark/Division station was the most recent to be rehabbed and made accessible, including a new exit at LaSalle. Projects currently under construction that will increase accessibility include the new Washington/Wabash Station, the Wilson Station Reconstruction, and retrofitting the historic Quincy Loop ‘L’ station with new elevators and other ADA compliant features.

The Chinese philosopher Laozi once wrote that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

So let’s get going and make those 46 stations accessible.


If you like this post, please like my Facebook page, and follow me on Twitter and Instagram. And, never miss a post! Subscribe now to receive CTA Tattler via email. Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.


Leave a comment
  • Other than Chuck Gowdy misrepresenting the issue, if you had looked at the Press Release, most of the remaining stations (Red Line North, Blue Line Congress) depend on reconstructing the system. There's no point putting in an elevator at Argyle if CTA is going to rip out the embankment in 8 years.as CTA wants you to believe.

    The only place where the comment applies is the usual orphan, the Blue Line Jeff Park segment. CTA cites the New Blue, but the only station being made accessible there is Addison.

    The Dearborn subway needs reconstruction, but that's CDOT property. Similarly, what's Mayor Rahm Emanuel's vision for stations in Evanston and Oak Park?

    It's not just an issue of "capital money."

  • In reply to jack:

    Well, I guess that's what this plan will tell us - the obvious: "Most of the remaining stations (Red Line North, Blue Line Congress) depend on reconstructing the system."

    But that's why they are giving themselves 20 years, which no doubt will be as long as it takes the Red Purple Mod program to be executed.

    And it doesn't matter whether it's CDOT property or in Evanston - the CTA is including all stations in this project.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    It will be down to 42 if you subtract projects under works or announced. But they just renovated Polk and Harrison and didn't add elevators, so I'm curious if they're able to put them in there feasibly. And most of the blue line in general is not accessible either.

  • I hope the LaSalle/Van Buren Station is on the list for a teardown. This antiquated piece of junk has to go. The platform is too narrow near the shed to safely navigate with a wheelchair, and the platform height is too low. Even the new 5000 cars are too high for the platform when they are lowered to the minimum height, requiring a step up into the car.

    Given that the station serves the commuters coming from the LaSalle St Metra Station, and that the number of commuters is going to increase significantly once the Metra Southwest service is moved to LaSalle from Union, it's a no-brainer for upgrade.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    When is that supposed to happen?

  • In reply to chris:

    I assume you are referring to the Southwest Service switchover? The change is likely still 2 to 7 years out. It's primarily contingent on them building a flyover near 75th St that would allow Southwest service Metra trains to connect with the Rock Island tracks. It's one major component of the city-wide CREATE project.



  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    Ok, so you don't have much more information than I could find. I kept seeing info about it, but no project timeline.

  • In reply to SpinyNorman:

    If they rebuild it, they need to rebuild the direct connection to the train station, like it had before the original LaSalle Station was torn down.

  • In reply to ScooterLibbby:

    That would be nice, but probably unlikely. In theory, it wouldn't be too difficult. First, they'd have to enclose the escalators on the east and west side of the 440 S LaSalle St building. Currently, they are out in the open. Secondly, they'd have to enclose the east and west side of the Options Exchange. The east side (LaSalle St) would be tough, as they have loading docks along the side of the building.

  • Interesting. When I was the transportation reporter for the Sun-Times, the first rules requiring access were issued, causing a huge debate. This was c1980, about 36 years ago. So, another 20?

  • To give this some perspective, that 68% of CTA 'L' stations are already accessible is a FANTASTIC figure for a system that began operating more than a century ago. In New York City, whose subway system also began operating over a hundred years ago, that figure is closer to 18%.

  • In reply to MichaelBenamiDoyle:

    Mike, you do give us good perspective here, so thnaks for that. But it is frustrating, and we can't really just blame the CTA. Money has to come from somewhere and there's just not enough of it.

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    Maybe you can tell your political allies that there is never "enough of it," especially when it is squandered the way it is in this state.

    *First law of economics.

  • In reply to jack:

    Just cruious Jack - how do you think capital dollars have been squandered in this state. (Waiting for the onslaught!)

  • In reply to Kevin O’Neil:

    I didn't restrict it to capital, but you made it too easy.

    Starting (from my knowledge) the cracked supports on the 18th incline, to $500 million on Crown the Brown that didn't fix anything (rotten platform boards, we did the substations, except we didn't, we now need a Ravenswood connector project), to one that should be obvious to any reader of the CTA Tattler: $330 million on a Block 37 tunnel that had the only effect of closing the Washington-State station. Let's also not forget the NABI and Optima buses.

    On the state level, the love of overlaying asphalt on concrete instead of fixing it.

    Now maybe you can answer this question: Since you agreed that making stations accessible requires totally rebuilding the stretches I listed above, where are the allies of the 49th Ward organization going to get the $8 billion immediately to make everything accessible as soon as possible? Is that answer as easy?

  • In reply to jack:

    What do they need to fix with the substations?

    I don't think it's fair to say the Brown Line project didn't fix anything. There are plenty of new stations and platforms (wood flooring aside).

    Besides, didn't you prognosticate that the L would be completely inoperable by now?

  • In reply to chris:

    Substations: The point was that they said they rebuilt the Brown Line substations as part of the 2005-2009 project, but you can look at recent construction reports and they are still rebuilding Brown Line substations, so either they misstated the scope of that project or didn't do it right the first time.

    And for my prognostication, other than the Red Line Dan Ryan project, the system is kept running by band-aids. Tale north of Lawrence, where they supposedly fixed the tracks, but now have a project on tracks 1 and 4, and with regard to Scooter saying they didn't fix the Granville Crossover, there is now a solicitation for an Ardmore one, on a stretch that is supposed to be demolished and rebuilt. Service has completely deteriorated on the Congress branch, as have intervals.

    I don't see you arguing Block 37.

  • Here is a Streetsblog Study of "New Projects" jack, along with some pointed comments from me....

  • http://chi.streetsblog.org/2016/01/12/transit-explorer-map-shows-nine-upcoming-transit-projects-in-chicagoland/

  • Not really anything new there, including Streetsblog's bias in favor of the Ashland BRT, which isn't going to happen.

    More interesting was that Tcmetro on chitransit.org has been following the CMAQ application process, and this staff memo shows what CMAP's priorities are, including all other L projects. like a new State Lake L station, take a back seat to RPM engineering. Similarly, on the Pace front, the Dempster Pulse was put off until the Milwaukee Pulse proves itself, but the Edens BOS was recommended because the I-55 one is successful.

    One interesting thing Tcmetro found was that while staff rejected an application for CMAQ funds to pay for 25 electric buses, the RTA tweeter confirmed that CMAP did approve an application to transfer money approved for the cost of converting 60 foot diesel buses to hybrid for the incremental cost of purchasing 27 electric buses. You can read about that in the "700-series XE40 - Deliveries & Assignments" topic. I'm surprised that was not picked up here.

Leave a comment