Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Spectacular" -- That's What He Said

The Mayor was at the rebuilt Morse Red Line station on Tuesday morning, and so was the CTA Station Watch blog, which is keeping close tabs on the ongoing project. And wow, if what really happens is what's being promised....? It's gonna be exciting.
  •  "Wilson – ... Design work is underway for what Emanuel calls a “spectacular” new Wilson express-transfer station, which will be constructed next year along with a significant portion of new track and signaling on either side of the station.
  • Sheridan and Bryn Mawr – These two stations will soon become the last ugly ducklings of the North Red Line, but they haven’t been forgotten. Carole Morey, CTA’s Vice President for Infrastructure, says they will be rebuilt after Wilson, starting in 2014."
Patrick Barry of CTA Station Watch wrote us with his ideas of what will happen at the new Wilson Station.  It's not gospel, and we wouldn't place any bets (yet), but CTA Station Watch has access to sources we don't, and we're happy to hear their theories:
"I've been looking at the Wilson station area and related materials like the Red Modernization planning documents and my theory is as follows: 

The new station will have two large center platforms to allow transfers from Red to Purple Express; it will extend from Wilson south to about Sunnyside; the first new track will be built in between the two west-most (southbound) tracks, where the empty mall and CTA workshops are now, and then one of the old tracks will be "cut over" to the new section; there will be an auxiliary entrance/exit near the Target store (see exhibit boards; there is plenty of space to do this).

And remember that the Mayor and Claypool say there will be extensive new track and signal work on both sides of the station. Plus there's your previously reported rehab of the historic Gerber station house. I've seen $200 million as the value of the job, in a city press release I can't locate at his moment.

I've got to admit, it's exciting. And the work on Morse has been of top quality."


  1. This is exciting. Do we think maybe another positive byproduct of all this activity in renovating the Wilson stop may make this stretch of Broadway a bit safer during certain times of the day given all of the construction activity that will be going on in this area? Did anyone near other renovated spaces notice that it had a similar effect? If so, this would be good for businesses around this stop as well as pedestrians. I know I'd be more apt to walk (which I prefer) over driving to nearby stores like Target in this case :-).

  2. I'd like to see some comparisons to the renderings that appeared a long time ago as just a proposal, not the actual engineering renderings. Are those a pretty good idea of what we'll be getting, or are the current designs taking a much different approach?

  3. I don't think we've seen a single rendering that wasn't total fantasy...I don't mean that in a skeptical won't happen kind of way, I just don't think anything legit has been produced yet.

  4. I cannot wait for the new station and the many benifits Uptown will receive from it. I also hope they get rid of all the people that are hanging out on city property around the station. They sit in chairs, drink beer and smoke drugs in plain view of police cars that drive by them many times daily and I never seen them chased off when I go by.

  5. ...kindly consider this for Uptown Station....

  6. Nicky, yes I also see them in actual chairs or sitting on milk crates. I don't understand why Target doesn't do more to help this situation.

  7. I'm tremendously excited about the rehab of the Wilson station and hope this grand old structure is restored to something approximating its original splendor.

    Every time I enter that station, I contemplate the old marble paneling with the brass handrails, the marble stair, and the scale of the place, and try to visualize it the way it must have looked c.1925, when Uptown was one of the most happening nabes in the country and thousands of people used that station to access the North-South (now the Red Line), the Evanston Express, and the old North Shore interurban.

    I was a CTA employee for a couple of years and was able to see the areas now closed off to the public, such as the former arcade of shops, which is slightly subgrade and now gated off, dark and abandoned. Some CTA people informed me it was closed in the 60s when crime and blight in the area made it unsafe. It can only be accessed by entering the "employees only" area where the restroom is, and you see a darkened corridor, with a grill over the entrance, with the shop windows still intact.

    The only problem with this great old station is that it is so bizarrely configured that it would be impossible to install elevators and escalators with the current configuration. I wonder what will finally happen to it when CTA begins the rebuild of the entire line, complete with a new elevated structure and track, in 5 years or so. Perhaps it will be gutted, the old staircase that was once so grand gutted out, and the beautiful facade restored. Some people have proposed an entire new station at Montrose to replace it, with the old station restored and converted to commercial use.

    It will be interesting to watch. I hope we make the right decision because whatever is done there is going to be very, very costly.