CTA President Frank Kruesi and community leaders Monday officially opened two new entrances to the Medical Center station on the Forest Park branch of CTA's Blue Line 'L.' The new entrance at Damen is accessible to persons with disabilities, providing the same level of convenience for the west side of the Medical Center complex that the accessible Blue Line station at Polk offers at the east end.
The Damen entrance is just steps away from the new Core Center Clinic, at 2020 W. Harrison, which opened in September to treat AIDS and HIV-positive patients. It is also only a few short blocks from the United Center on Madison Street, allowing sports fans taking Blue Line trains to reach the center without having to transfer. The other new entrance is at Paulina, where customers using Transit Cards and passes can enter the station through either of two newly installed reversible high barrier gates.
The Medical Center station entrance at Ogden Avenue, which is midway between Damen and Paulina, will continue in operation. Both Damen and Paulina had been entrances in the past, when attendants were needed to collect fares. They were closed due to declining patronage, though Paulina remained open as an exit only.
CTA's new automated fare collection system has allowed Paulina and five other station entrances on the Blue, Red and Green Lines to be converted from exit only to entrance/exit. Announced by CTA last August, the improvements at the other locations were completed earlier this fall.
"The new entrances at Damen and Paulina will greatly increase access to the station for customers who use it to reach jobs or medical appointments in the Medical Center, or who commute from the growing residential communities nearby," said President Kruesi. "The Damen entrance will also be useful for those heading to the many public events being presented at the United Center."
Improvements at Damen Avenue include a wheelchair-accessible gate, brighter lighting and new landings for the ramp connecting the street-level entrance to the train platform. The station house has been refinished with glazed block walls and tile, and there is a new kiosk and glass entrance from the street to the station. New turnstiles accept both Transit Cards and coins. The Damen entrance is also equipped with a new Transit Card vending machine and a change machine.###