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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

What’s New?

RPM: Phase One

Phase One Map Area (Linden thru Belmont)

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:


RPM Belmont Bypass Rendering
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.


Rendering showing redone Bryn Mawr station 
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

In order for CTA to pursue federal funding for these projects, two Environmental Assessments (EAs) are being conducted for both projects within Phase One. The EAs analyze community and environmental impacts in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).


Open House Meetings to be Held in May 2014

Photo: Written comments from scoping meeting

As part of the environmental phase, CTA will share specific information, including benefits and impacts of the Phase One projects with the public. Staff will also answer questions regarding each of the Phase One improvement projects at two open house meetings scheduled for May 21 and 22, 2014. Public input received at these meetings will be part of environmental review processes and taken under consideration for further project development.

Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Truman College
1145 W Wilson Ave.
Chicago, IL
This location is served by: CTA Red Line Wilson station, and CTA Buses #78 Montrose , and #36 Broadway
See meeting exhibit boards (.pdf)

Red-Purple Bypass Project
Thursday, May 22, 2014
5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
19th District Police Department
850 W Addison St.
Chicago, IL
This location is served by: CTA Red Line Addison station, and CTA Buses #152 Addison, and #8 Halsted
See meeting exhibit boards (.pdf)

Each open house will focus on one specific Phase One project. The public is invited to attend both meetings.

Meeting Flyers: English/español

These facilities are accessible to people with disabilities.


Next Steps

Throughout summer and fall 2014, CTA will be conducting additional environmental analysis for both projects. 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 at that time to obtain additional public feedback on the benefits and impacts of the proposed Phase One projects.

Timeline: Open houses in Spring 2014, Complete EA in Spring 2015, FTA concurrenct and engineering application in Fall 2015 and Start Construction in 2017


Stay Informed!

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


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