Sunday, May 5, 2013

CTA Opens Bids For Wilson Station Rehab

After decades of promises that amounted to nothing, it looks like the rehab of the Wilson L is really going to happen.  Crain's reported on Friday:
The Chicago Transit Authority today formally sought bidders for what will be one of the largest projects in its history and the most expensive station job ever — the estimated $203 million reconstruction of the Red Line's Wilson Avenue station.

Bids for general contractors are due by mid-June, with the CTA board scheduled to vote in August and work to begin this fall. The CTA wants 25 percent of subcontracting to go to minority- and women-owned firms. Construction is scheduled to take about three years, but the station will be open in the meantime.
(The entire Crain's article is here.  Registration may be required.)

Anyone who's lived in Uptown for any length of time probably remembers all kinds of promises for the Wilson Station, going back to the 1980s, from everyone from Peter Holsten to State Rep. Larry McKeon to CTA Board President Carole Brown.  Not a single one of those ever materialized.

But now it looks like it will finally happen, beginning in the fall.  We can't wait for the day to come.

Project renderings from October 2012 are here.  Feast your eyes.


  1. I hope that this all turns out to be something that that CTA and the Alderman did a Vulcan mind-meld with the community to make sure it is something we all can live with for the rest of our lives...because the ONLY opportunity we all had for interaction was the CTA "availability session" last fall at Truman College and the comments that CTA collected from that.

    Graceland-Wilson Neighbors suspected more than a year ago that the community wouldn't get a say in the station design unless it pushed for a say. They asked for public meetings, they conducted an on-line poll and provided the results to CTA and the Alderman, they kept on-top of the developments, and they asked repeatedly for a follow-up public meeting before the bids went out. Unfortunately, the public was excluded, not unlike decades past. Not only was it made very clear to Graceland-Wilson Neighbors that the opinions of Uptown Business Partners were going to be given far, FAR more weight than those of the people who will actually use the station, it was also made clear that no public input would be welcome. CTA would only schedule a public meeting if the Alderman's office was helping to plan it; the Alderman's office scheduled a meeting about the station with Graceland-Wilson Neighbors and abruptly cancelled it, because "the proposal hadn't been discussed yet." Hmm. CTA points fingers at the Alderman's office, the Alderman's office points fingers at CTA. Whether or not the Alderman's office has a good "back-channels" line of communication with CTA, whether or not CTA claims that it tries to keep aldermen out of its planning processes are irrelevant--this is CTA's biggest station renovation in its history, and the station will serve people who choose to use it--not simply the revolving-door line of businesses that come and go.

    For the Alderman's sake, I hope that he is listening to more than just the Uptown Business Partners, and I hope that he uses what influence he has with CTA, because how well the new Wilson Station turns out and how well it serves the people of the community--good or bad--will be hung around his neck either like a garland or like an oaken oxen collar. No excuses allowed.

  2. Has there been discussion of replacing the clock?

  3. Hahahahaha save the clock tower!

  4. Geez bear, I am confused as to what you are complaining about.

  5. Good news and as far as the Alderman and CTA not sitting down with each person personally and discussing what everyone's individual needs for the new station are and then incorporating them into the plans, I am fine with it.
    Anything is an improvement and I kind of want to be surprised.

  6. @I-lP: You're just confused. Learn the difference between complaint and information, and get past your one-track mind.

    @ScottFree: Graceland-Wilson Neighbors was told at one point that CTA "couldn't find" the original clock, but they would try to reproduce the tower. No clock was addressed.

  7. They shut down all those businesses around Uptown Station for what seems to be eons ago. The Roquito's restaurant took a brief leave of absence from which it never returned, so the whole area seems more blighted than usual. I wish they would get started ASAP.

  8. The rendering neglecting to include all the colorful characters filtering out of the Wilson club Hotel, as well as many drive by shootings in the area.

  9. I still can't get over the cost of this project: over $200 million?

    A project downtown's cost is $140 million and that is a high-rise building -