Rendering of the new LaSalle Mezzanine at Clark/Division. PDF with additional renderings.
Editor’s note: This post was written by Grid Chicago contributor and Network member Kevin Zolkiewicz.
Rahm Emanuel joined top brass from the CTA and CDOT this morning to announce the completion of the Grand station on the Red Line (City of Chicago press release). That project had been ongoing for nearly five years and it’s nice to see it finally completed. But the big news today wasn’t Grand, but rather announcements of upcoming station work.
On the renovation front, Clark/Division will be the next Red Line subway stop to see a massive overhaul. That station opened in 1943 and hasn’t changed much since. The rehab of the station will involve the construction of a completely new mezzanine at LaSalle. Construction on that station will begin in March with completion scheduled by March 2015.
The much-needed Cermak stop on the Green Line will begin construction by February 2013, with completion scheduled for July 2014. That station will fill a large 2 1/2 mile gap between stations on the Green Line and allow for better access to McCormick Place. Design work won’t begin until March, but preliminary plans call for a staggered center island platform (think Loyola on the Red Line).
What I’m looking forward to the most is a new station at Washington/Wabash in the Loop. This station, which would replace the existing Randolph/Wabash and Madison/Wabash stations, was first proposed by CTA back in 2003 [we reported on this in October 2011]. It now appears closer to reality and the early renderings released today look promising. Rather than replicate the bland design of Washington/Wells, plans call for a stunning wavy glass canopy.
Who knows if that design will stick. It does, after all, have some practicality concerns with regards to rain and snow. But it’s nice to see CTA and CDOT taking design more seriously for this station. Much of the recent station designs from CTA have been hugely disappointing. For such a high profile station that will serve Millennium Park, we need an impressive design that will showcase our transit system and help attract new ridership. Unpainted galvanized steel isn’t going to do that.
One last thought on Washington/Wabash: Although it’d probably be rather costly, I’d love to see a restoration of the old Madison/Wabash station house. It doesn’t look like much now, but it’s one of the last old Loop station houses and dates back to 1896. The new station’s platform will extend to Madison, so the old station house could conceivably be repurposed as an auxiliary entrance and maybe even house a small visitor’s center. The likelihood of something like that actually happening is probably slim to none at this point given fiscal realities, but you can always dream, right?