Check Out the New South Terminal of the 95th Street Stop

The north side of the new south terminal. Photo: Jeff Zoline
The north side of the new south terminal. Photo: Jeff Zoline

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.

The south entrance of the southern terminal. Photo: CTA
The south entrance of the southern terminal. Photo: CTA

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.

Local politicians cut the ribbon on the new terminal. Photo: John Greenfield
Local politicians cut the ribbon on the new terminal. Photo: CTA

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 interior of the new terminal. Photo: Jeff Zoline
The interior of the new terminal. Photo: Jeff Zoline

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.

The new platform. Photo: Jeff Zoline
The new platform. Photo: Jeff Zoline

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.

The temporary bus loading area on State Street. Photo: Jeff Zoline
The temporary bus loading area on State Street. Photo: Jeff Zoline

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.

IMG_3703
The old station had double-decker racks with space for 32 bikes. Photo: John Greenfield

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.

We Keep You Rollin's Deloris Lucas by two of the new bike racks. Photo: Jeff Zoline
We Keep You Rollin’s Deloris Lucas by two of the new bike racks. Photo: Jeff Zoline

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.
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  • I realize it’s in the middle of a highway so options are limited but would it kill them to put in a planter or two? It looks pretty harsh from the photos.

  • Jeremy

    I assume the bus stops do not allow for payment before boarding.

  • Tooscrapps

    lombardy poplars?

  • Anne A

    I’m planning to check it out soon. Regarding the bike parking issue, the current situation is extremely disappointing. I’ve reached out to get some assistance to nudge CTA into giving us more indoor bike parking in the final station configuration. Fingers crossed, hoping that effort is successful.

    The frequently shifting locations of some of the bus stops has been a challenge during various phases of this huge construction project. Each time I’d get there and have to look for signs to figure out where my bus stop had moved to.

    For a while I was avoiding it because I usually use it at night, and the westbound stop for the 95th St. bus was across the street by the McDonald’s. I’ve seen a lot of trouble by that McDonald’s over the years and wasn’t excited by the idea of hanging out there waiting for the bus. Since Metra is much closer to home, using the 95th St. bus and red line is a Plan B for me. I’m grateful that I haven’t been forced to live with the challenges of this construction project on a daily basis. I have a lot of sympathy for those who have been dealing with it every day.

  • Anne A

    Here’s a comment from Chainlink by someone who regularly rides her bike to the station and locks up there.

    “There are 4 racks in the station, which provide 8 spaces, obviously that is 1/4 of what we had before.

    I don’t know why they think that it is double the 32 that we had before.

    The outdoor racks are a joke. There seem to be 6 of them, scattered around the bus station.

    The canopy does not extend far enough to protect them from rain or snow, as seen this week when staff put out some of those yellow ‘caution’ cones by them as it was wet and slippery.

    But the whole project seems a mess. There are no escalators, just two staircases. and one elevator.

    There are no drop curbs to allow wheelchair access, except directly from 95th itself, which is not a great idea in busy traffic. It looks as if wheelchair users have to go into the road in order to get up onto the curb, there are no other entry point for them that I can see. There don’t seem to be any entrance points on State or Lafayette.

    What a great plan, a wheelchair crossing in 4 lanes of aggressive rush hour traffic!

    Passengers waiting for buses blocked the station doorways as the bus stop areas are just not protected at all from the weather, the canopies are set all wrong!

    And the doors themselves seem too heavy to open for a lot of people. I’ve seen people with strollers struggling to get in.

    It doesn’t seem to resolve any of the previous site’s problems with people having to walk in between buses as there are still two bus lines, so those going to the 103 for example, have to cross the first bus line to get to it.

    And I have to ask what the point of the development is at all.

    If they are planning to run the extension down to 130th, (another hollow promise?) then the number of people using 95th will be decimated. Most of those using it now arrive by bus from the south side, and they will use the new stations when/if they are built.

    It seems a huge waste when you consider it could be virtually obsolete in 5 years.

    On a bright note, I was the first person to use the station, ahead of the formal opening by the Mayor!

    I start work at 11pm, and the bike parking at the old site was closed at 10pm Saturday night, so they had no option but to let me in to park at one of the 4 racks on my way to work!

    I flat refused to use the outdoor parking and gave them no choice. But the 4 indoor racks are never going to be enough during the week, they will be full by mid morning and then what?”

    “So of course I get there today and there are no spaces. Who is the best person to complain to?

    The station manager says he doesn’t like bikes in his station and to get an Uber.”

  • John Jones

    Between now and May 20th, Chicagoans must locate and report poor infrastructure to the local Alderman. Each Alderman must submit it’s Aldermanic Menu list by June 1st. Report poor sidewalks, streets, curb and gutters, alleys, and park specific improvement needs. Communicate with the CDOT office for other helpful advice at 312.744.3600.

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