Funds help make the Irving Park, Belmont and Pulaski Blue Line stations accessible to those who use mobility devices
The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has received $118.5 million from the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) All Stations Accessibility Program grant program, to make the Irving Park, Belmont and Pulaski Blue Line stations with elevators and make other improvements to meet modern accessibility requirements.
“Millions of residents and visitors use the CTA to travel around Chicago each month, and I’m proud we’re revamping a critical piece of our City’s infrastructure that will increase transportation access for people with disabilities,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "I thank Senator Duckworth for her advocacy and determination to help us improve the transit experience for everyone.”
The total estimated cost for the three station projects is approximately $148 million, 80 percent of which will be supported with funds received today through federal ASAP grant program. The remaining funds, approximately $29 million, will be a mix of state and/or local funds. Details regarding the scope and timeline of project work for each station will be determined following the awarding of contracts, which is expected in late 2023/early 2024.
In general, work at all three stations involve the installation of elevators with clearly defined accessible pathways to and from train platforms, bus stops, and other major modal transfer points. All features along the pathway, such as fare arrays, shelters, benches, and passenger information, will be redesigned to remove barriers and allow for universal accessibility.
“Today marks a major milestone in our commitment to making the entire CTA rail system fully accessible, as this new funding serves as a key to unlocking the doors to three more rail stations that will soon be accessible to everyone,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “This is the first of several more grants CTA will be pursuing through this new federal funding program, which is the first of its kind in history and would not have been possible without the perseverance and support of Senator Tammy Duckworth.”
In 2018, the CTA released its All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) Strategic Plan, a first-of-its-kind blueprint for making its entire rail system accessible to people with mobility disabilities within a 20-year time period. Currently 103 of CTA’s 145 rail stations (70%) are accessible. CTA’s main impediment to achieving 100 percent vertical accessibility has always been funding.
With the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, a new $1.75 billion discretionary grant program, which takes the name of CTA’s “All Stations Accessibility Program” was created and announced. This is the first federal funding program specifically for legacy transit agencies, like CTA, to help increase the number of accessible rail stations. Earlier this year, the FTA announced the first round of funding of this five-year program, which will make $350 million in grants funds available annually.
Funding has now been secured for a total of 12 stations outlined in CTA’s ASAP Strategic Plan, with the CTA now focused on applying for and securing funds to further advance its visionary plan of making its entire rail system vertically-accessible by 2038.