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Eyes on the Street: Checking Out the New Wilson Station House

The new stationhouse is an airy glass box. Photo: John Greenfield

Another CTA station became wheelchair-friendly today as the main stationhouse of the new Wilson stop opened, complete with an elevator and escalator. This was the latest milestone of the $203 million station reconstruction project, which is converting the stop into a double-platform facility that will serve as a transfer between the Red and Purple lines.

The airy "front hall" of the stationhouse. Photo: John Greenfield
The "front hall" of the stationhouse. Photo: John Greenfield
The airy "front hall" of the stationhouse. Photo: John Greenfield

The new stationhouse, located on the south side of Wilson, is a light-filled glass box, with plenty of room outside of the turnstiles. The fact that the structure is relatively airy, despite being located under the tracks, is partly thanks to a reduction in the number of track columns at street and sidewalk level, which is also beneficial for traffic safety. The city says the stationhouse opened ahead of schedule.

The new elevator makes bike-and-ride commutes more convenient. Photo: John Greenfield
The new elevator makes bike-and-ride commutes more convenient. Photo: John Greenfield
The new elevator makes bike-and-ride commutes more convenient. Photo: John Greenfield

“Mayor Emanuel and I are pleased to provide ahead of schedule this bright, spacious new entrance to Wilson, which will provide our customers with a more pleasant commuting experience and increased accessibility to the CTA system,” said CTA President Dorval Carter in a statement.

The new up escalator. Customers exiting the station still have to walk down a long flight of stairs. Photo: John Greenfield
The new up escalator. Customers exiting the station still have to walk down a long flight of stairs. Photo: John Greenfield
The new up escalator. Customers exiting the station still have to walk down a long flight of stairs. Photo: John Greenfield

Currently all trains are using the west platform, and the station accommodates inbound and outbound Red Line service, and inbound Purple Line runs also stop there. The east platform is still under construction, but curving translucent blue canopies have been completed on both platforms.

The canopies are completed, and the future northbound platform is almost finished. Photo: John Greenfield
The canopies are completed, and the future northbound platform is almost finished. Photo: John Greenfield
The canopies are completed, and the future northbound platform is almost finished. Photo: John Greenfield

The new main stationhouse offers elevator and escalator access for the first time, wider station platforms with large, translucent canopies to provide better weather protection and additional turnstiles. Additional station features include real-time Train Tracker arrival time displays, new signage (including Braille) and brighter lighting.

The historic Gerber building is currently being restored. Photo: John Greenfield
The historic Gerber building is currently being restored. Photo: John Greenfield
The historic Gerber building is currently being restored. Photo: John Greenfield

The rest of the Wilson reconstruction project is slated for completion by the end of the year, including:

    • Completing remaining the new stationhouse and opening the east platform.
    • Opening new station entrances on Sunnyside Avenue and on the north side of Wilson Avenue.
    • Unveiling new station artwork created by Sri Lankan-British artist, designer, and engineer Cecil Balmond.
    • Completing restoration of the historic 94-year-old Gerber building on the north side of Wilson at Broadway, which housed the old stationhouse, including restoring a previously demolished clock tower, and announcing a new tenant for the building.
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