January 29, 2004

Chicago Transit Authority President Frank Kruesi and other officials today reopened the CTA's newly renovated Central Park station as part of the $482.6 million renovation of the Cermak (Douglas) branch of the Blue Line. It is the fourth of eight stations to reopen after renovation.

"This newly renovated station exemplifies the progress we have made as part of our quest to Renew the Blue," stated CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Improving rapid transit service along the Cermak (Douglas) branch of the Blue Line adds to the comfort and convenience for our existing customers, helps to attract new customers to our system, and is part of our overall effort to bring our system to a state of good repair."

The state-of-the-art, accessible station, located at 1915 S. Central Park, offers a number of customer-friendly amenities including an auxiliary entrance/exit. The main entrance to the stationhouse is on the west side of Central Park, and the auxiliary entrance/exit is located on the east side of Central Park, providing convenient access to the station. The station also serves as a connection point to five CTA bus routes ? two directly at the station and three within two blocks.

For customer comfort, the platform features benches, overhead heaters and brighter lighting. Canopies and windbreaks have been installed to protect customers from the elements.

An elevator, escalator, wheelchair turnstile, TTY telephones, tactile edging and Braille signs offer accessibility for customers with disabilities. Audio-visual station signs and a public address system help customers navigate the station and receive travel information.

?The Cermak (Douglas) branch will help revitalize communities along the branch," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole L. Brown. "The renewed Blue Line will be an important economic anchor for the West Side and western suburbs."

The CTA has exceeded its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)-contracting goal of 35 percent for the Blue Line Rehabilitation Project with 37.3 percent DBE contracts.

The project involves reconstructing eight stations ? 54th/Cermak, Kostner, Pulaski, Central Park, Kedzie, California, Western and Hoyne ? and replacing the track and support structure.

As of January 1, 2004, the CTA had completed installation of the foundations for the vertical support columns, steel and concrete columns, and track and girder spans. In addition, four newly accessible and renovated stations have reopened at Kostner, Pulaski, 54th/Cermak and now at Central Park.

The branch has remained open for service throughout the project, with station work taking place on weekdays. Temporary platforms and entrances provided access to the 'L'. Track and structure work was performed on weekends.

The project, which began in the summer of 2001, will be completed within the year. Kiewit/Delgado, AJV (A Joint Venture), of Elgin, is overseeing the construction portion of the project.

The Cermak (Douglas) branch is 6.6 miles long and provides rapid transit service to Pilsen, Heart of Chicago, Little Village, Lawndale and the town of Cicero. It serves as a vital link to the Chicago Loop and the Illinois Medical District where medical centers such as Rush University Medical Center, John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook County, University of Illinois, St. Anthony's, Mount Sinai and Veterans? Administration Hospital, are located.

A trip from 54th/Cermak to downtown could take as long as 45 minutes before construction began. That same trip will take less than 25 minutes when the rehabilitation is completed.

The project was funded through a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the federal government and locally through Illinois FIRST, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

In December 2003, the Blue Line was the CTA's second busiest rail line after the Red Line, with a total of 110,367 rides taken on an average weekday and 7,323 of those rides provided by the Cermak (Douglas) branch.

The Chicago Transit Authority is the nation's second largest public transit system, serving Chicago and 40 suburbs. Each weekday, the CTA provides 1.5 million rides through a network of seven rail lines and 148 bus routes.

On a daily basis CTA provides 1.5 million rides to Chicago and the 40 suburbs, with a service area that covers nearly all of Cook County. Nearly two million customers use some combination of CTA, Pace and Metra to get to and from destinations throughout the six county region. The CTA is committed to meeting the transportation needs of the region by providing quality and affordable transit service for all its customers.

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