I have good news for CTA riders.
United States Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx visited the Granville Red Line Station yesterday to announce $35 million in federal funds for projects to modernize the Red and Purple Lines and serve as a significant down payment toward one of the largest capital projects in CTA history–a $1.7 billion initiative to expand train capacity and modernize the Red and Purple Lines.
Joining Secretary Foxx (at podium) were (left to right) Ald. Tom Tunney, U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, CTA President Forrest Claypool, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, myself, Ald. James Cappleman, and Dan Luna, Chief-of-Staff to Ald. Harry Osterman, who was out of town on a family vacation.
The $35 million in Core Capacity Program funds will subsidize Phase One of the CTA’sRed and Purple Modernization Program (RPM), a massive, multi-stage project that ultimately will result in a complete rebuild of the northern portion of the Red Line from Belmont to Howard and the Purple Line, which extends to Linden in Wilmette (see map below). The project is scheduled to be completed in several phases, which allows CTA to make the greatest number of improvements while minimizing impacts to the surrounding community.
As any rider of the CTA can attest, the Red and Purple Lines have reached the end of their useful life spans. Most tracks and bridges are nearly 100 years old, resulting in a need for frequent repairs that disrupt service and slow travel. Though Rogers Park’s Red Line stations recently received a complete rehabilitation, the RPM will further modernize the stations, allowing for elevators and escalators in each station.
The $35 million grant for Phase One represents a down payment from the federal government for the modernization project. Once federal requirements are completed, the CTA is anticipated to receive an additional $600-700 million in Federal funds, which will go a long way to helping to complete the entire project.
Phase One of the RPM includes two main components. The Red Purple Bypass Project calls for the construction of a bypass north of the Belmont station to eliminate delays where the Red, Purple and Brown lines all intersect and trains must stand and wait for other trains to pass.
The Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project calls for the complete rebuilding of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr stations. These stations would include modern amenities and elevators to make them fully accessible to customers with disabilities. Phase One would also rebuild of all tracks, support structures, bridges, and viaducts on the mile-plus stretch between these stations, significantly improving train speed and reliability.
The federal grant will cover project development expenses, which include both preliminary design and engineering and environmental planning.
Rogers Park has received a healthy share of Red Line modernization projects in the last few years. Five years ago, construction was completed on the new Howard Red Line station, which included new elevators and an entirely new entryway near the bus terminals and parking garage. The Morse station (photo on right) and Jarvis station were completely rehabilitated from the ground up two years ago. And rehabilitation work was completed last summer on the Loyola station, which now boasts a new plaza that has become a mini town center with art performances and farmers markets.
Finally, The CTA is putting the finishing touches on a new substation at Farwell and Glenwood that will boost power on the far north portion of the Red Line, increasing train speed and reliability.
These improvements not only benefit transit riders, but also have served as catalysts for economic development in our community.