CTA Kicks Off Community Engagement Process to Activate New Spaces Under New Red Line Tracks as Part of Red & Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project

December 19, 2023

By removing century-old embankment wall between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr stations, CTA has created unique opportunity to activate new, open space for customers, residents and visitors; first community meetings to be held January 10-11, 2024

With more than one mile of new, open space under newly built CTA Red and Purple Line elevated tracks coming on line, the CTA today announced the kickoff of an interactive community engagement process with Edgewater and Uptown neighborhood residents to determine how to activate those areas for the benefit of the community.

This space has become available as part of the historic $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project now under way. The CTA announced in April 2023 that the agency would remove the 100-year-old embankment as part of the RPM project, creating a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give to the community new, open space underneath Red and Purple Line tracks between W Lawrence and W Ardmore avenues. This is a first in CTA history – never has the agency had the opportunity to remove more than a mile of embankment and create new open spaces that could be activated for neighbors and CTA customers.

To begin the conversation of how to develop the space following completion of the project, CTA today announced it will hold the first of a series of public meetings on Jan. 10 and 11, 2024. CTA has brought on Site Design Group, a Chicago-based, nationally award-winning landscape architecture, urban design and architecture firm to guide the development of a Lawrence-to-Bryn Mawr block-by-block plan to activate new community space under the CTA tracks.

“Working with the community to enhance public spaces under the new Red Line is an example of how CTA aims to create focal points in the communities we serve,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We want to hear from the community on they would like to see to create useful and appealing community spaces for residents and customers to enjoy.”

"The Red and Purple Modernization Project is already transforming our community, and we look forward to completion of the project with modern, accessible Red Line stations,” said Ald. Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, 48th Ward. “Activating the space underneath the tracks in our neighborhood is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I look forward to working with our neighbors and the CTA on this exciting endeavor." 

Community engagement process

There will be 10 blocks under the new Red Line elevated track structure that could be activated and include amenities such as additional neighborhood parking and open-air community space. CTA is inviting local residents, customers, elected officials and community groups including the Uptown United/Uptown Chamber of Commerce and Edgewater Chamber of Commerce for input into this activation process.

CTA will hold three sets of community meetings starting in January through summer 2024.  to collect the public’s ideas, formulate concepts for each block and determine how to roll out the development with partner agencies and organizations in the community.

Public meetings series #1: Kickoff – what is possible?

CTA and Site Design will present overview of how activation process will work and timeline and will share constraints (i.e. what can’t be done) and examples from other cities. Residents will be asked to provide ideas for each block. Residents are welcome to attend one or both meetings.

For blocks between W Foster and W Ardmore:

Date and time: Wednesday, Jan. 10, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Saint Ita Catholic Church, 5500 N. Broadway

Register in advance at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lawrence-to-bryn-mawr-under-l-activation-envisioning-new-community-spaces-t​ickets-777818906287.

For blocks between W Foster and W Lawrence:

Date and time: Thursday, Jan. 11, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Location: Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.

Register in advance at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lawrence-to-bryn-mawr-under-l-activation-envisioning-new-community-spaces-tickets-777823610357.

Public meetings series #2: We listened – here are preliminary concepts

This series of meetings responds to feedback received from the first  round of engagement. CTA and Site Design will provide block-by-block concepts for each of the 10 blocks based on feedback from the first meetings and solicit input from the community on those concepts. These meetings are expected to be held in spring 2024.

Public meetings series #3: Final activation public meetings

CTA and Site Design will share the final concepts and a proposed framework for how activation will roll out. These meetings are expected to be held in summer 2024.

RPM construction and embankment removal status

The wall demolition began earlier this year and more than 80 percent of that structure has been removed. The remaining wall will be removed by early 2024.

RPM Phase One Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization work: Project status

CTA continues to make significant progress in the final major stage of construction (“Stage B”) of the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr portion of RPM. Stage A, which was be completed in July 2023, rebuilt the northbound Red and Purple line track structures between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr.

Stage B, now under way, will rebuild the southbound Red and Purple Line track structures and build four new, fully accessible Red Line stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr. Work on the new stations will begin in early 2024, and preliminary work is already under way.

For more information about the RPM Phase One project, visit transitchicago.com/RPM or follow @CTARPM on Facebook, Instagram and X.


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