Check Out the New South Terminal of the 95th Street Stop
On Sunday city officials heralded the latest milestone in the $280 reconstruction of the CTA’s 95th/Dan Ryan station, the opening of the new south terminal. The reconstruction project is replacing the existing station, which opened in 1969, with two new terminals that will straddle both sides of 95th Street. The north terminal will replace the existing station, which went out of service yesterday to accommodate the construction project. The new station will be twice the size of the old one after the north terminal opens, and it will have a pedestrian bridge over 95th to connect the two terminals.
Located in Roseland on the Far South Side, the 95th Street station is the current southern endpoint of the Red Line, although the CTA hopes to extend the route to 130th. With 9,535 riders on an average weekday, according to the most recent CTA ridership report in December 2017, 95th is the ninth-busiest station in the ‘L’ system. The facility is also a major bus terminal serving 12 CTA and 5 Pace bus routes. Intercity bus routes stop there as well.
A who’s who of local politicians showed up for Sunday’s ribbon-cutting, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, South Side Congressman Bobby Rush, 9th Ward aldermen and City Council transportation chair Anthony Beale, 21st Ward alderman Howard Brookins, Jr., and 34th Ward alderman Carrie M. Austin. Also in attendance were community leaders like Michael LaFargue from the Red Line Extension Coalition and West Chesterfield Community Association, Harlan High principal Ramona Outlaw Fanning, Gillespie Elementary principal Michelle Willis, and Deloris Lucas, leader of the Far South bike group We Keep You Rollin’. Many attendees wore red to celebrate the occasion, and CTA staffers passed out red balloons.
The south terminal has brighter lighting and more window space than the old building, which is intended to make the terminal feel more secure and cheerful. The terminal also features more space between bus stops, and some routes have separate drop-off and pickup points. There are also individual shelters at each stop in the terminal with benches and winter heat lamps. In addition, there’s a dedicated drop-off area for paratransit riders.
I did notice a couple of issues with the new south terminal. Currently about half of the bus routes serving this station board at a temporary stop on State Street next to the new building and, unlike at the old station, the bus shelters aren’t heated. This temporary stop serves most of the Pace routes, as well as the CTA East 103rd and West 103rd routes and Greyhound lines.
There’s currently a lot less available bike parking than before the old station closed. The old station had double-decker bike racks inside the “paid” area, with slots for 32 bikes, but the south terminal only has four “inverted U” racks installed outside, with space for only eight bikes. Moreover, unlike the old fixtures, these racks are exposed to the elements, and they will be more susceptible to theft because they’re not in a limited-access area.
Last summer the CTA promised that the new station will include “an equal or greater number of bike racks,” but it’s a shame that three-quarters of the bike spots have been eliminated just as peak biking season is about to kick in. Imagine the outcry there would be from motorists if the same ratio of car parking spaces were eliminated at a transit station as part of a rehab project.
But overall the new south terminal is a nice addition to the area, that will get even better after its northern counterpart opens. Hopefully the brand 95th Street new station will help build momentum for federal and state funding for the CTA’s proposed $2.3 billion extension of the Red Line south to 130th Street, which the agency hopes to start work on in 2022.