CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. today announced the first major milestone in the $23 million renovation of the Illinois Medical District (IMD) Blue Line station—a vital public transit connection to one of the nation’s largest medical districts. The project is the latest in a series of recent infrastructure improvement projects announced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to improve Chicago’s neighborhoods and transit services.
Beginning today at 9 a.m., the Damen Avenue entrance to the IMD Blue Line station will be temporarily closed until mid-May to allow crews to make exterior and interior improvements to the stationhouse and its concourse, including upgrades to the station-to-platform ramp for improved accessibility.
The closure of the Damen auxiliary entrance marks the first major phase of project work, which will eventually make improvements to all three entrances of the IMD station, including the complete reconstruction of the main stationhouse on Ogden Avenue to make it accessible to customers with disabilities with the addition of an elevator.
“The improvements being made as part of this project will benefit the thousands of riders who currently travel through the station each day with a safer, cleaner and more modern facility,’ said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “More importantly, as a result of this project work, everyone will have equal and affordable access to this vital transit connection serving nearby medical services, schools and entertainment.”
Conceptual rendering of Ogden Avenue auxiliary entrance to the IMD station.
In addition to accessibility upgrades, the project will also include improved station and platform lighting; the installation of new security cameras; and new CTA Bus and Train Tracker displays. Both auxiliary entrances will receive new flooring, wall and ceiling finishes, fare-payment equipment and customer assistant kiosks.
Under Mayor Emanuel, the CTA has made unprecedented investments in rebuilding and rehabilitating rail stations, many of which are decades old. Since 2011, more than 40 CTA stations have received major upgrades and rehabs—nearly 30 percent of the rail system. Five existing stations have received elevators to make them wheelchair accessible, with two more receiving elevators in the next few years. Three new stations have opened, with a fourth (Washington-Wabash) slated to open later this year. Two major signature station projects are also under way at 95th Street and Wilson on the Red Line.
Opened nearly 60 years ago, the IMD Station is the third-busiest station on the Blue Line Forest Park branch with more than 1 million station entries last year. It provides key connections to four major hospital systems – the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Rush University Medical Center and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. The station also serves Malcolm X College and the United Center.
During the temporary closure of the Damen auxiliary entrance, customers will continue to have access to Blue Line services via the IMD station’s main entrance on Ogden Avenue or the additional auxiliary entrance on Paulina Avenue, which is a ramp-accessible entry. Customers accessing the station from the #50 Damen route can transfer to the #7 Harrison (weekdays) or #126 Jackson (weekends and weekdays late evening) as an alternative that serves the accessible Paulina entrance.
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