Thursday, February 9, 2012

Having It Both Ways

How's this for a solution?  Lawrence, Argyle and possibly Sheridan will be getting rehabbed beginning this summer... but Lawrence is still slated for possible closure!

From the Tribune:
Seven of the most shabby, leaky and all-around deplorable rail stations on the CTA Red Line's north branch will be part of a $57.4 million facelift project starting this summer and running through early next year, under a contract the CTA board approved Wednesday.

CTA President Forrest Claypool called the seven North Side stations — Jarvis, Morse, Granville, Thorndale, Berwyn, Argyle and Lawrence — "the worst stations we have."

The Bryn Mawr and Sheridan stations may be added to the fix-it-up list later, depending on funding. {...} The federally funded facelift that Chris Bushell, the CTA's chief infrastructure officer, outlined Wednesday will include waterproofing, tuck-pointing, and installing new windows, doors, ceilings and floors on the seven station houses; improving lighting; repairing or replacing platforms; and shoring up crumbling viaducts and embankments.
Later in the article:
The seven stations that will be rehabbed this year by Kiewit Infrastructure Co. would eventually be torn down and rebuilt with larger platforms and modern amenities, officials said. But some stations, possibly including Jarvis, Thorndale and Lawrence on the Red Line and Foster Street and South Boulevard in Evanston on the Purple Line, could permanently close.
You can read the entire article here (and we recommend it; there's information about the Wilson station restoration as well).  And we can't stress enough:  If you have strong feelings about the proposed closures, email the CTA.  That's the only way you can make a difference.  The email address is


  1. Granville Station is handicapped accessible with both an elevator and escalator and by far has the best platform north of Addison Station, so to describe it as one of "the worst" that the CTA has is either hyperbolic spin or really must refer to something else.

    I find it incredibly difficult (bordering on impossible) to believe that it is more deserving of renovation/rehabilitation/repair than Sheridan Station.

  2. Agreed, QRBNST. That's laziness on the order of people who believe that civilization ends just before the Wilson stop and "gets steadily worse as you go north."

  3. Lawrence should definitely stay open for the benefit of the "theatre crowd" if nothing else. I vote for a Montrose/Wilson arrangement also.

    There should be MORE, not fewer, stations built in Rogers Park. Loyola-Morse/Lunt-Jarvis-Howard is way too inadequate to accommodate the increasing numbers of Rogers Parkers who want to use the L to get to downtown, and Northwestern students who want to live south-of-the-border and commute to school via Red/Purple.

  4. I don't mind if the Lawrence stop closing so long as they go head with plan to extend the Argyle stop to include an entrance at Anslie. It's still close enough for the theater crowd but makes the commute downtown that much faster.

    It also puts more pressure on the CTA and police to keep the Wilson stop clean and safe to appease the Higher number of commuters.

  5. @QRBNST: Agreed. I used to live by the Granville station and I never had a complaint. It had an escalator, wide platforms, and intelligible audio announcements about the incoming train.

    Sheridan on the other hand not only lacks the above amenities, but also is a hazard in the rain/snow thanks to the leaking ceilings, lack of shelter, and slippery narrow platforms/stairs. My hope is that with the redistricting it ends up in Cappleman's ward and gets the attention it deserves.

  6. I use the Bryn Mawr station daily. I'm wondering why they have chosen to ignore rehabbing this station, the conditions are deplorable! If they ignore updating now, how long will it be until they re-review?

  7. Agree with those who assert that Granville is not extremely needed of repair. It's one of the better stations, not the worst, though the new Howard is the best north of Addison.

    I attended the meeting at the Broadway Armory and viewed the plans. Loyola and Wilson will become transfer points for the Purple Line, to relieve overcrowding on the Red, and will be rebuilt with 24' wide platforms. Berwyn and Bryn Mawr are to be rebuilt with these extra-wide platforms.

    All the stations will need to be rehabbed and extended to accommodate 10-car trains on the Red and 8-car trains on the Purple. CTA has never before run trains longer than 8 cars.

    The Red Line now hauls nearly 250,000 people a day, and hauled 38.5 million last year. Ridership last year equaled the previous peak of 1927, and ridership on the rail system as a whole is as high as it was in 1967.

    My personal belief is that we should keep the stations CTA is thinking of closing, because we might want to revert to the A-B stop pattern CTA used before 1990, as ridership increases.

    Most importantly, though, CTA should plan this rebuild so that any future new service can connect to this line. I have a feeling that demand for new train lines where none exist now will swell, and we should plan for crosstown lines over streets like Chicago Ave, Belmont, Lawrence, and Touhy to relieve the hellish east-west congestion and make it possible for people in neighborhoods now far from the rails to use the system. We might also want to extend service into underserved but densely populated West Rogers Park and to other areas of the city that now are very car-dependent. But we don't want to do these things yet- we just should plan this rebuild so that any new service we want to add in coming decades fits in.

  8. The Sheridan Road stop is on the rebuild plan. The plan calls for that sharp curve to be straightened and for a stop that has a much wider platform as well as ADA-mandated amenities like elevators and escalators.

  9. Unknown... according to today's newsletter from Ald. Harry:

    "Bryn Mawr is not included in this project because a larger renovation of this station will take place and is in the early planning process."

  10. I always agree (almost) with whatever northcoast says.

    Ditto what NorthCoast said.
    Nice synpopsis and analysis.

  11. I guess short-range thinking comes with being perpetually cash-strapped and having to justify every dime in a political climate that is hostile to public transportation, but CTA is a little too focused on current urgent needs to the detriment of planning for the future.

    I can understand that, because it has been such a struggle to get funding for the bare-bones repairs and rehabs, in the competition between transit agencies and highway transportation.

    But it has been very costly.

    For example, consider the glossy new Howard Station, built at a staggering cost. About $50 Million at least. Very beautiful except that it has exactly the same number of train pockets it had before the rebuild, which is why it has the same traffic jams and delays it did before the rebuild.

    I was so hoping that the people planning this station would have the vision to see that not only did the station need more platforms and tracks, but it ought to be designed to connect with another line down the road, mainly a line over Touhy Ave to connect with the Blue at Cumberland or Rosemont. A forward-looking plan would have axed the Gateway Plaza from the plan altogether to make room for more and longer platforms, train pockets, and train yard space, with a connecting bridge or tunnel to the North Shore Metra nearby, along with the bus plaza. There would be retail fronting Howard at grade level, instead of the failing shopping plaza we have there now, that turns its back to the street and makes Howard St more deserted and dangerous, not less.

    What a lost opportunity. Same thing with Wilson Yard- this property should not have been sold, but should have remained in CTA's hands so that it could be rebuilt as an immense transfer station and yard to serve as the starting point for an elevated line over Lawrence or Montrose clear to the Blue Line Harlem or Cumberland station.

    According to a Chicago old timer who is a friend of mine, there was once an elevated line running over Grand Blvd clear out to Cicero. It was torn down during the 1950s, during the first great suburban buildout and full-blow assault on cities that was public policy at the time. Think how much easier life would be for everyone who has to travel east-west over Chicago or Grand if this line still ran.

    Let's not lose more opportunities to plan for a future that might be very different from the past 60 years. We're now rebuilding our city after 60 years of suburban development and disinvestment in our cities. We want to do it right, to make the city comfortable and livable for as many people as possible.