The Quincy Loop Station is Getting a Makeover, Including ADA Accessibility

500quincyrender
Rendering of the station with elevators. Image: CTA

This morning the CTA took a step towards making the system more accessible for people with disabilities, as the board of directors approved the construction contract for the rehab of the Quincy Loop station, including the addition of two elevators. Currently, 100 of the CTA’s 145 rail stations (69 percent) are wheelchair accessible.

The board awarded the CTA Quincy Loop Station Upgrade Project contract was to Ragnar Benson Construction, LLC. Work is slated to begin later this year.

Quincy, located on Wells Street between Jackson Boulevard and Adams Street, is one of the ‘L’ system’s oldest and best-preserved stations. It was opened in 1897, back when William McKinley was U.S. president. The $18.2 million rehab will also include stair replacement, painting, lighting improvements and other upgrades.

“The Quincy ‘L’ station has served riders for more than 100 years, providing Chicagoans with convenient access to and from Chicago’s downtown Loop,” said CTA President Carter in a statement. “These improvements will retain the station’s historic appearance while making necessary upgrades including the addition of two elevators.”

Some of the original features of the station that still exist today include pressed metal wreaths and fluted pilasters (rectangular pillars), located on the outside of the stationhouse. The current customer assistant’s booth was rebuilt in the 1980s as a replica of the original ticket agent booth.

Quincy Station
The Quincy Platform as it looks today. Photo: Serge Lubomudrov

Last renovated in 1988, the Quincy stop sees more than 2.2 million riders per year on the Orange, Pink, and Purple Lines. It also serves as a transfer point for ten bus lines, and provides access to Union Station and the LaSalle Street Metra station.

The project is part of the CTA’s Strategic Accessibility Program announced last January, which set a goal of making all ‘L’ stops accessible by 2036. However, some have argued that the agency is not being aggressive enough about adding elevators to existing stations. For example, the $492 million Your New Blue project is rehabbing 11 Blue Line stations, but only one station will be gaining wheelchair accessibility.

  • Chicagoan

    Is that brick cladding on the elevator’s exterior?

  • Obesa Adipose

    Metal panels on a frame.

  • Anne A

    I’m very glad that this station is being made accessible.

  • ardecila

    It does look like there is some texture to the metal, though… maybe perforated or diamond plate. I’m glad they’re not trying to build “ye olde elevator” and instead are simply making the visual connection with a bronze colored metal. I was wondering how they were going to manage these renovations on the one CTA station that is an intentional historic preservation.

  • kastigar

    Why wasn’t the Damen Avenue station on the Blue Line made ADA accessible when it was renovated a few years ago?

  • johnaustingreenfield

    They said they didn’t have the budget for it, and they weren’t legally required to because it wasn’t a full reconstruction, but they took steps to make it possible to add the elevator once they have the money.

  • kastigar

    Recently I took the Brown Line to get to Union Station to take Amtrak with my bike. I thought all the Brown Line stations were handicapped accessible but found out they weren’t.

    I got off at Quncy thinking it was the closest. I waited for the next train, and got off at LaSalle/Van Buren – a mistake, since it too doesn’t have an elevator. I took the next train to Harold Washington Library stop, which did have an elevator.

    I left early but took the train because of the threat of rain. Good thing, I did make it on time from the state Lincoln Service train which allows carry-on bikes.

    All of the Brown Line stations outside of the Loop are handicapped accessible.

  • 49western

    Not to intentionally be inconsiderate of the needs of the handicapped, but should it really be necessary to put an elevator on every station on the loop elevated? It is only two blocks to Washington/Wells which has one and they both provide the same service. And if/when LaSalle/Van Buren is upgraded it will be even closer.

  • BlueFairlane

    The phrase “it is only two blocks” doesn’t really mean the same thing to people with disabilities as it does to you or me. I think it’s reasonable to expect every Loop station accessible.

  • Anne A

    If you EVER had a walking disability and took a careful look at how many CTA stations in the Loop do NOT have elevators or escalators, you would appreciate the need. ALL CTA stations in the Loop should be fully accessible.

    The only Loop elevated stations that are currently accessible are Washington/Wells, Clark/Lake and Library (State/Van Buren).

    A couple of years ago, I had a broken ankle and was walking with crutches for a few months. In that situation, a station without an escalator or elevator is pretty much useless. I’ve seen plenty of other people dealing with similar situations over the years, as well as people with permanent disabilities who need elevators because they are in wheelchairs. There is plenty of demand for accessibility.

    Hobbling an extra 2 blocks can mean the difference between being able to reasonably be able to make a trip and being pushed over the edge into pain and exhaustion, sometimes risking further injury.

  • Anne A

    Bob – see my comment above.

  • Anne A

    In some disability situations, 2 blocks might as well be 1 mile or more.

  • Chicagoan

    Yes.

  • Anne A

    Also, getting into a cab isn’t necessarily a solution if one can’t bend easily.

    Buses can be the most accessible option – if they connect the right locations. They take MUCH longer than a train for many trips.

  • JacobEPeters

    money & land, for the outbound platform they’ll have to take ownership of the alley or demolish the back of a nearby building to get enough space for an elevator.

  • planetshwoop

    Strollers, seniors, injured, bicycles, luggage… there are tons of reasons why this makes sense. Yes, it’s expensive but really expands who can use it. (Which is also why the extension of contract fthe Metra cars is so terrible. Getting on and off the train with a stroller and child is miserable. )

  • Anne A

    I have helped friends with strollers getting on and off Metra trains. Even in the accessible cars, getting large items up and down those stairs is tough. I feel your pain.

    Improving accessibility can make a big difference in improving the passenger experience and increasing ridership.

  • 49western

    Thanks for the reply. Please don’t think I’m not concerned about the difficulties of the handicapped, But I do want to test some preconceptions we all more or less have accepted as gospel.

    My thought was that there are many stations with two entrances, however it is only required by ADA that one of them be accessible. Examples: Green-35th-IIT (35th and 34th), Pink-Damen (Damen and Hoyne), Blue-Logan Square (Kedzie and Spaulding). If you show up at 34th on the Green Line you can’t get in and have to walk to 35th. The extra distance to walk for these three examples ranges between 800′ and 900′. The walk to Washington/Wells is about 1300′. I think that is comparable.

    There are a few pairs of stations that are actually separated by a shorter distance than is between typical primary and auxiliary station entrances. On the Blue line: Washington-Monroe, Monroe-Jackson, and on the Red line: Monroe-Jackson. These distances range between 350′ and 450′. In this case you could do without an elevator at Blue-Monroe completely and the extra walking distance would be half what is expected of CTA riders in other parts of the city. And to further muddle things, those State and Dearborn subway stations are really just one long station anyway. You can use Blue-Washington as an auxiliary exit on a rainy day when you arrive at Blue-Jackson.

  • neroden

    The Quincy renovation has been in the queue for a while, I believe. I remember it was on the “to do list” as long ago as 2005, after a bunch of other projects (which are mostly done or in progress now).

    It’s good that the CTA is able to keep an eye on the long term and plan ahead, so that they always have another improvement project “on deck”. The queue has all been good projects, too, no stupid stuff like some cities do.

  • neroden

    The recent Blue Line (“Your New Blue”) renovations were really barebones, more like placeholder repairs than real renovations. They’re just to tide the O’Hare end of the Blue Line over for the next decade because it is *way* down on the priority list for comprehensive ADA accessibility and modernization.

    I believe Red/Purple are the top priority, in parallel with the Loop and Subway stations (each of which takes a really long time and is very expensive; it looks like they’re basically doing one Loop and one Subway station at any given time) and then they’re going to try to redo the Forest Park branch.

  • 49western

    Thanks for the reply.

    My thought was that there are many stations with two entrances, however it is only required by ADA that one of them be accessible. Examples: Green-35th-IIT (35th and 34th), Pink-Damen (Damen and Hoyne), Blue-Logan Square (Kedzie and Spaulding). If someone with a disability shows up at 34th on the Green Line he/she will see that it is inaccessible and will have to go to 35th. The extra distance to walk for these three examples ranges between 800′ and 900′. The walk from Quincy to Washington/Wells is about 1300′. I think that is comparable.

    There are a few pairs of stations that are actually separated by a shorter distance than is between typical primary and auxiliary station entrances. On the Blue line: Washington-Monroe, Monroe-Jackson, and on the Red line: Monroe-Jackson. These distances range between 350′ and 450′. In this case you could do without an elevator at Blue-Monroe completely and the extra walking distance would be half what is expected of CTA riders at inaccessible auxiliary entrances in other parts of the city. And to further muddle things, those State and Dearborn subway stations are really just two long stations/platforms anyway. You can use Blue-Washington as an auxiliary exit on a rainy day when you arrive at Blue-Jackson.

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