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CTA Adds New Security Cams, Releases Art and Design Book

6:26 PM CDT on October 29, 2018

The cover of the new book highlighting CTA art and design.

Lots of stuff has been popping over at the CTA in recent days. Last week Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced plans to spend $5 million to encourage transit-oriented development along busy bus routes, as well as a pilot of new digital information screens on CTA buses. If the latter become a permanent fixture, that means that transit riders will be subjected to even more advertising.

The new CTA bus info screens.
The new CTA bus info screens.

Today Emanuel and CTA president Dorval Carter, Jr. announced the installation of 500 more security cameras in the transit system, as well as a new coffee table book and Chicago Architecture Center tours focused on art and architecture in CTA stations.

“CTA customers expect and deserve the kind of investments that benefit their daily commutes and boost their overall riding experience,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Public art and security are two of the many tools we’re using to keep CTA the option of choice for Chicago commuters.” That's a key goal, because CTA train and, especially, bus ridership has been recently, largely due to the rise of ride-hailing.

Over the past year, the CTA and the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications installed almost 500 cameras inside and near 'L' stops stations along the Red, Blue, and Brown lines. 400 of these are high-definition cams. the cameras are part of a $33 million security project funded by the tax on ride-hailing City Council pass last year to fund transit.

The security program includes installing a total of 1,000 new cameras and upgrading over 3,000 older cams to HD. In addition, cameras will be added to over 100 CTA bus turnarounds and video monitors will be installed to 'L' stops. The project also includes new lighting and other upgrades at all 145 stations.

The CTA, OEMC, and the Chicago Police Department have also worked together to install street-level cameras at 'L' stations. So far this in 2018, 95 new HD cams have been put in near the entrances of the Grand and Chicago Blue Line, Sedgwick Brown Line, and the Clark/Division, Lake, Grand, Jackson and Monroe Red Line stations.

An image from the new book.
An image from the new book.

Meanwhile, Emanuel and the CTA announced the book "Elevated: Art and Architecture of the Chicago Transit Authority," the transit authority’s first official book highlighting station art and design.

In conjunction with the book release, the Chicago Architecture Center is creating two new tours featuring projects discussed in the book. The tours, one covering the South Side and the other the North Side, will launch in early 2019. The CAC already offers the Loop tour "Elevated Architecture: Downtown ‘L’ Train."

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