5 More “Your New Blue” Station Rehabs Completed, Only 1 Elevator Added

Emanuel talks with workers at a ribbon cutting for the rehabbed stations yesterday. Photo: CTA
Emanuel talks with workers at a ribbon cutting for the rehabbed stations yesterday. Photo: CTA

Yesterday the city announced the completed renovation of five Northwest Side Blue Line stations as part of the $492 million Your New Blue modernization of the line’s O’Hare branch, including the rehabbing of 14 stops. The five recently completed stations are the Addison, Irving Park, Montrose, Harlem, and Cumberland stops.

This latest $43 million station rehab represents the second phase of Your New Blue. Only the Addison stop received an elevator during this round of work. While the Harlem and Cumberland stops already had elevators, the Irving Park and Montrose stations remain inaccessible to wheelchair users and other Chicagoans who can’t take the stairs.

“Today is an important milestone in our efforts to modernize transit infrastructure in Chicago, and we will continue making these much needed investments across the City to ensure we are providing the safest, most reliable service for commuters,” said Mayor Emanuel in a statement. “There are now new tracks, signals and power between the Loop and the northwest side – all of which will make the ride smooth, safe and speedy.”

Previous Your New Blue work included including track improvement work from Damen to Logan Square, completed in 2014, plus rehabs of the California, Western and Damen stations. The California and Damen stops remain non-wheelchair accessible.

The most recent station improvements included:

  • Addison: New elevator; extended stationhouse and new enclosed stairway; improvements to the platform and platform canopies for better weather protection; refurbished platform furniture (benches, windbreakers, trash bins, etc.), new lighting; and painting of station and platform.
  • Irving Park and Montrose: Improvements to platform and platform canopies; renovated platform furniture; replaced walkway railings; new lighting and repainted stationhouses and platforms.
  • Harlem: Improvements to platform, platform canopies floors and walkways; repairs to stationhouse curtain walls; rehabilitation of platform furniture; and new lighting and painting.
  • Cumberland: Improvements to platform, platform canopies and walkways; replacement of stationhouse curtain walls and other improvements, including new lighting and painting at the stationhouses, platforms, and walkways; and upgrades to stationhouse and platforms, which includes new lighting and painting.

Last month the CTA announced that a $15 million is planned for the Blue Line’s Belmont station, which will include several cosmetic improvements such as a space-age-looking weather canopy, but no elevator. The CTA estimates that making the station fully accessible would cost between $70 million and $90 million.

The completion of the second phase of Your New Blue is one of several big transit stories this week. On Sunday the CTA announced that they’re earmarking $75 million for preliminary engineering and design work for the $2.3 billion South Red Line Extension project. And tomorrow City Council will vote on whether to approve the new North Side transit TIF, which is needed to help fund the $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization project.

Yesterday Emanuel also announced a new partnership that gives transit riders access to Chicago-focused content through the CTA’s 4G subway wireless network. The CTA and CPL will be launching a joint marketing campaign in early 2017 to help direct riders to CPL’s digital content, which will include e-books by Chicago authors, blog posts written about Chicago or by Chicago authors, as well as other city-focused curated content.

Correction 11/30/16 1:30 PM: I previously stated that four of the five recently rehabbed stations lack elevators, but actually the Harlem and Cumberland stations already had elevators prior to the upgrade project. I apologize for the oversight.

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