Skip to Content
Streetsblog Chicago home
Streetsblog Chicago home
Log In
Chicago

Blue Line Rehab to Make Only a Single Station Accessible

Untitled
All buses are accessible, and the Addison station will soon allow a fully-accessible transfer. Photo: John Greenfield.

The Chicago Transit Authority will spend $492 million rehabilitating tracks and stations on the Blue Line between the downtown subway and O'Hare airport in an effort to speed service and improve the customer experience. But the project will make only one station accessible to people with disabilities, out of 11 stations slated for a rehab that are currently inaccessible. (A total of 13 stations are being renovated and upgraded.) The one station that will receive accessibility upgrades is Addison.

CTA responded to a question about this on Facebook, saying that they met their responsibility for the number of "key stations" that must be accessible when they finished the Brown Line rehab in 2009. While the CTA no longer has to upgrade existing stations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, it continues to upgrade them. Of 145 stations, 97 are accessible -- three were upgraded just this year in the Red Line South rehab project.

The question that remains is "Why Addison?" -- especially when a report from the Infrastructure Accessibility Task Force in November 2012 said Damen, Belmont and Irving Park, and California had the greatest need for accessibility measures. The task force, comprising CTA staff, consultants, and representatives from the disability community, ranked stations on factors including ridership by people with disabilities, the number of people who live nearby and use paratransit, and senior services locations, among others.

Addison's score wasn't listed, but CTA developed a design concept to add an elevator, estimating its cost at $5 million. CTA spokesperson Tammy Chase said that Addison was selected "because of its ridership and the ability to make that station accessible."

Weekday ridership for Damen, however, is more than two times higher than Addison. The agency also developed four upgrade scenarios for the Damen station, and it does look they they would be more costly. Two of the Damen options were estimated to cost $12 million and call for two elevators and possibly a transfer bridge. The two other scenarios probably cost more, since they include a new station house, though no estimates were given.

Damen Blue Line Station
The Damen station house will get new flooring, new lighting, and a new ceiling. Photo: Serge Lubomudrov

Chase said that the IATF report was "not a ranking of what projects were most likely to be completed." She added that Damen has many challenges, because of how it's situated among other buildings. Chase wrote that "alterations have to minimize impact to historical elements of the stationhouse," an historical landmark, and that the station is surrounded by other landmark buildings. The deciding factor, then, was that Addison, with its single platform below the Addison Street bridge, has a "fairly straightforward" design, according to Chase.

CTA does have several other upcoming station accessibility upgrades: Quincy on the Loop elevated lines, Wilson Red Line, and the Washington/Wabash station on the Loop elevated that will replace Randolph/Wabash and Madison/Wabash.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Chicago

South Branch riverfront proposal aims to connect parks, expand green space, and improve transportation, recreation

The McKinley Park Development Council gave an overview of its new riverfront redesign plan last week at a public meeting.

June 15, 2024

CDOT is installing a lot more bikeways in 2024. Here’s an interactive map of the locations.

The Ward Wise civic tech group at Chi Hack Night put together the map, and graciously allowed Streetsblog to publish it.

June 14, 2024

New walk/bike/transit nonprofit GoodForUs.org is working on Ravenswood Bike Lending Library, other projects

The group would like to see bike libraries expand citywide, and has other ideas to get more people to use active transportation more often and drive less.

June 13, 2024
See all posts