Damen Green Stop Will Have a Skybridge With Awesome Views
The upcoming $60 million Damen Green Line stop already promised to be a transformative project for the Near West Side, but the recently unveiled design indicates that it will be yet another transit station showpiece for the city. Like the Green Line’s tube-shaped Cermak-McCormick Place stop (2015) and the Loop’s Washington-Wabash station (2017), which is reminiscent of whale’s skeleton, the Damen stop will feature dramatic architecture, including a glass skybridge that will offer breathtaking skyline views. More significantly, the new station will bridge the 1.5-mile distance between the Green Line’s Ashland and California stations, which will surely spur development in the area. The station is being funded through the Kinzie Industrial TIF.
The design plan is by Perkins + Will, an architecture and design firm that has completed station projects from British Columbia to Chongqing City, China. The facility will be largely transparent, with a large staircase and escalator visible from the glass façade. The skyway, whose design is a reference to Chicago’s many steel bridges, will provide access between the inbound and outbound train platforms.
The station will improve transit access to businesses and industries along the Kinzie Industrial Corridor and nearby residences, including the Chicago Housing Authority’s Villages of Westhaven complex. It will also offer a new way to get to the United Center – the stop will be a roughly seven-minute walk from the north entrance.
The opening of the Morgan infill station in 2012 has significantly increased L rail ridership in the area without much negative impact on two adjacent stations. Since 2012, these three stations have collectively had 35% ridership increase even as whole system has only gone up 2%. pic.twitter.com/rYcqeakOYp
— Yonah Freemark (@yfreemark) July 9, 2018
The Damen station follows the 2012 debut of the Morgan Green and Pink infill stop. Transit analyst Yonah Freemark noted on Twitter that in the years following that facility’s opening (which coincided with a massive development boom in the West Loop), total transit ridership among the Morgan station and the neighboring Ashland and Clinton stops rose by 35 percent, compared to only a 2 percent ridership increase systemwide. It’s likely that the Damen stop will see a similar jump in ridership in the years after it opens.
In April, the Chicago Department of Transportation began work on the reconstruction of Lake Street between Ashland and Damen that will prepare the Lake/Damen intersection for the new station. The project will improve access for trucks in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor by increasing the vertical clearance under the tracks, and it will also relocate structural columns that support the elevated tracks to accommodate the new station.
Design work will continue on the new station while CDOT carries out the reconstruction project on Lake Street. Work on the foundation for the new stop is slated to start late this year, with work on the station house starting in spring 2019. The station is expected to open in 2020.