Red and Purple Modernization
Rebuilding vital infrastructure for Chicago’s future
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is undertaking the largest capital improvement project in its history: the Red & Purple Modernization Program. This major initiative will completely rebuild the northern portion of the Red Line from Belmont to Howard station and the Purple Line, which extends to Linden station in Wilmette. The RPM corridor was built close to a century ago—in 1924—when Calvin Coolidge was President and the Wrigley Building had just been constructed.
The Red Line is now Chicago’s busiest ‘L’ line, serving some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in the country, and the number of riders along this corridor is only growing. In the past five years alone, for example, rush hour ridership increased by 40 percent.
RPM is an effort to accommodate current and future ridership needs by comprehensively upgrading tracks and reconstructing stations. RPM will also increase the number of passengers that pass through these stations by expanding the number of trains that can travel on the Red Line—an improvement that will allow CTA to better serve customers for generations to come.
RPM Summary (.pdf) (en español)
Other languages: Spanish, Chinese (simplified, traditional), Vietnamese
On August 7, 2014, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, along with CTA President Forrest Claypool and other elected officials, announced significant new federal funding for projects to modernize the Red Line.
RPM: Phase One
RPM is a massive, multi-stage project that is scheduled to be completed in phases, which allows CTA to make the greatest number of improvements while minimizing impacts to the surrounding community.
Phase One includes two main components:
Preliminary, conceptual rendering of Red-Purple Bypass
1. Red-Purple Bypass Project: A bypass would be constructed north of the Belmont station to eliminate delays where the Red, Purple, and Brown lines all intersect and trains must stand and wait for other trains to pass.
Preliminary conceptual rendering of a reconstructed Bryn Mawr station
2. Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project: CTA would completely rebuild the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr stationsThese new stations would include modern amenities and elevators to make them fully accessible to customers with disabilities.
Phase One would also rebuild of all tracks, support structures, bridges, and viaducts on the mile-plus stretch between these stations, significantly improving train speed and reliability.
Future phases of RPM would bring the same level of infrastructure and station improvements to the Red and Purple lines north of Belmont to Linden station in Wilmette. These improvements are contingent upon funding availability. CTA will continue to update the public as future phases are planned.
Potentially impacted properties
Information about potentially impacted properties (.pdf)
Red-Purple Bypass Project Map of Potentially Displaced Properties (.pdf)
Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project Map of Potentially Displaced Properties (.pdf)
Where We Are Now: Environmental Assessments & Preliminary Design/Engineering
In August 2014, CTA became the first transit agency to be awarded federal funding from the new “Core Capacity” Program. CTA was first in line to receive these funds because of the environmental work already underway. .Two Environmental Assessments (EAs) are being conducted, one EA for each of the projects within Phase One. The EAs analyze community and environmental impacts in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
With the infusion of “Core Capacity” funds for FY 2014, CTA can also begin preliminary design/engineering. This stage of planning will help CTA develop more details regarding early project concepts and determine what is feasible from a technical standpoint in addition to what’s been asked or suggested by the public during feedback provided during at Open House meetings in May.
Preliminary engineering/design will also provide the information needed to advance the project designs to the point where CTA can later begin the process to seek design/build contracts.
CTA will continue environmental analysis for both projects, and begin preliminary design/engineering. Once the environmental analysis is complete, the Environmental Assessment will be prepared and made available to the public for review. Additional public meetings will be held next spring obtain additional public feedback on the benefits and impacts of the proposed Phase One projects.
If you would like to be added to the RPM contact list for meeting notices and future updates about the RPM Program, please contact:
Chicago Transit Authority
Strategic Planning & Policy, 10th Floor
Attn: RPM Project
567 W. Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60661-1465
Or e-mail RPM@transitchicago.com.