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Edgewater Residents Respond to Red Line Renovations

The Chicago Transit Authority announced that the start of the Red North Station Interim Improvements project would begin May 11.

Signage at Granville CTA station, on the Red Line.
Signage at Granville CTA station, on the Red Line. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This plan would impact Rogers Park and Edgewater residents and workers.

Sara Ginn, Edgewater resident and frequent rider of the CTA Red Line, said she’s concerned about the delays this will cause.

“There are already a lot of delays,” said Ginn. “Going from Granville to Clark/Division normally takes me like 25 minutes. The other day it was so bad that it took me 40 minutes. The construction’s only going to make things worse.”

She said she still believes that it will be worth it to beautify the area.

The CTA’s goal is to minimize the effects of construction on existing transit services, but admits that some stations will have to close without naming what specific stations those will be. CTA officials said on that they will try to keep two tracks open, narrowing it down to one track during off-peak hours and promise a maximum six-week closure for any station. Also, no stations that are next to each other will close, allowing customers the option to catch a train at the stop adjacent to the one they normally use.

Yousuf Ullah, a student at Westwood College, likes the remodeling, and said he “always likes a new look.”

But he said the CTA isn’t focusing on the right stations and thought some of the issue wasn’t with the quality of the stops, but with the upkeep.

“Tell them to make their way to Bryn Mawr next,” said Ullah. “The wood is all rotted, and also what’s messed up is it isn’t wheelchair accessible. The Bryn Mawr exit smells like urine, people throw up and no one cleans that. I know I’m in the city, but they should at least get a hose out or something.”

The program this project falls under is called “Red Ahead” and consists of four projects. They are the Red North Station Interim Improvements, the red line extension, the red and purple modernization project and the Dan Ryan track renewal.

Granville, Thorndale and Berwyn are all going to see renovation with the purpose being to “help bring the existing transit line into a state of good repair, reduce travel times, improve access to job markets and destinations, and provide improved access to people with disabilities” according to the CTA’s website.

The project will cost $57.4 million and work starts on May 11 with Granville to be the first station redone.

The work being done includes viaduct repair, waterproofing, new doors and windows for the stations and tuck-pointing. Though there will be no elevator installation in any of these stations, there will be work done on the roofs of these stations to create better environments for concession spaces to be leased, which would bring in more money to the CTA.

Work on this section of the line should finish in less than a year. Jarvis is the last stop to see repair and it closes on November 9.

With the red line extension project, the CTA plans on extending the red line even further south past 95th Street, where it currently ends, to 130th Street. This would include four new stops at 103rd, 111th, and 115th Streets. along with a new terminal station at 130th.

A $646 million state capital investment grant combined with state, local and federal funds make up the $1 billion that will go toward “Red Ahead,” which is aimed to repair stations, fix tracks and eliminate slow zones that plague the most used line on the “L.”

The Loyola station, which is technically in Rogers Park, but which many Edgewater residents frequently use, will be repaired under a different project and will see the most changes. In a joint effort by Loyola University and the CTA, the station is planned to undergo remodeling at the end of May according to a report issued by Loyola’s newspaper.

The entrance to the station will be moved north onto Sheridan Avenue and will be surrounded by a plaza. The building that houses a Harris Bank and McDonald’s will be demolished in order to make room for this plaza.

A model image of the new station shows café seating for outdoor dining.

Pedestrian safety was also a factor in this change. Now the station entrance will be near a crosswalk instead of the middle of the block where it currently stands, according to Kana Wibbenmeyer, Vice President of Facilities at Loyola.

The McDonald’s has been closed since the beginning of the month with no plans for relocation, according to a Loyola spokesperson.

Harris Bank on the other hand posted a sign on their window saying they plan on closing April 23 and will be moving to 6443 N. Sheridan Rd.

The CTA doesn’t plan on stopping with the north side renovations. The CTA has said they will perform a similar renovation on the South Side. The Bryn Mawr, Sheridan and Wilson stations will see separate renovation contracts.

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