June 4, 2003

Chicago Transit Authority customers will benefit from two initiatives approved by the Chicago Transit Board at its monthly meeting today. Both projects are designed to enhance service for customers. The scope of the projects includes improving public communications systems and enhancing several station entrances, including making them more bicycle friendly.

The Board approved a contract for Chicago-based Parsons Transportation Group, Inc. to provide architectural and engineering services to upgrade the public address systems at 37 CTA rail stations. The $719,401 contract will be funded by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

The Board also approved a $569,973 contract for Chicago-based Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc. to design and prepare construction bid documents for the CTA's ?Front Door Program? that will add amenities to station entrances throughout the CTA rail system. Funding for this contract is provided by the FTA and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). Bids for a contractor will go out next year.

"These improvements will be apparent and beneficial to our customers as we strive to create transit facilities that are pleasing, safe and welcoming," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Valerie B. Jarrett. ?Additionally, the bicycle improvements being made are the direct result of us responding to customers who frequently use bikes during their daily commutes."

CTA President Frank Kruesi added, "Making our facilities more inviting will attract new customers and introduce them to the convenience of public transportation. By investing in our system we are also investing in the communities we serve as we continue bringing our system into a good state of repair and providing on-time, clean, safe and friendly service."

The Parsons contract calls for the design of a new communication system that will meet the present and future needs of the CTA by providing digital broadcast of audio and visual announcements in public areas of stations including farecontrol areas, stairways, corridors and platforms. Construction on the new system is expected to begin in 2004 and take three years to fully implement.

Stations selected are those with the oldest public address systems -approximately 20 years old. It does not include stations that were upgraded recently such as those on the Green Line or stations slated for upgrades as part of other projects such as the renovation of the Cermak (Douglas) Branch of the Blue Line and the upcoming Brown Line Capacity Expansion.

The ?Front Door Program? includes making improvements to station entrances, enhancing connections to bus routes and improving bicycle access and storage facilities. Upgrades will include station identification signage, new fencing, reconfigured turnstiles, improved lighting and heating systems, benches/street furniture, improved bus waiting areas and bus information panels, landscaping and windbreaks. Bicycle storage amenities include internal wall-mounted racks and areas for storing helmets and other riding gear.

The seven stations scheduled for entrance upgrades are Austin (Forest Park, Blue Line), Racine (Forest Park, Blue Line), Chicago (O'Hare, Blue Line), Jefferson Park (O'Hare, Blue Line), North/Clybourn (Howard, Red Line), Sheridan (Howard, Red Line) and Pulaski Orange Line). Bicycle improvements will be made to nine additional stations. As with the public address project, stations that are currently part of another rehab project are not included in the ?Front Door Program."

As the nation's second largest public transit agency, the CTA provides 1.5 million rides on an average weekday and takes pride in delivering quality, affordable transit service that link people, jobs and communities.

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