Mayor Richard M. Daley joined Chicago Transit Authority President Frank Kruesi and other officials today to hail the progress of the $482.6 million renovation of the Cermak (Douglas) branch of the Blue Line and officially open its newly renovated Pulaski station. It is the third of eight stations to reopen after renovation.
?Twenty-eight months ago, we came to this station to break ground for the largest capital project in the CTA's history," Daley said. ?Today, we?ve returned to open this beautifully renovated station and to report that the entire project is moving rapidly toward completion -- on time and on budget."
"The Pulaski station opening marks yet another milestone as we forge ahead to bring the Cermak (Douglas) Branch to a state of good repair," stated CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?Our thanks to Mayor Daley, our state and local leaders and the entire Illinois Congressional delegation for their continued support of public transit and the CTA in particular."
The state-of-the-art, accessible station is located at 2021 South Pulaski Road, with the main entrance on the east side of Pulaski and an auxiliary exit on Harding Avenue, one block east of Pulaski.
The station offers a number of customer-friendly amenities. For customer comfort, the platform features benches, overhead heaters and enhanced lighting. Canopies have been installed to protect customers from the elements.
An elevator, wheelchair-accessible gate, TTY telephones, tactile edging andBraille 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.
A new bus turnaround encircles the station, providing convenient dropoff and pickup points under a canopy that protects customers from the elements.
"The Cermak (Douglas) Branch will be a catalyst for economic development and job growth in the communities along the branch, and I am pleased that the CTA is continuing to improve its service to our customers in these communities," said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole L. Brown.
The CTA has exceeded its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) contract goal 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, three newly accessible and renovated stations have reopened at Kostner, Pulaski and 54th/Cermak.
The branch has remained open for service throughout the project, with station work taking place on weekdays using temporary platforms and entrances that provide access to the 'L'. Track and structure work was performed on weekends when the branch was not in operation.
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 Presbyterian-St. Luke's, 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 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 and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
In November 2003, the Blue Line was the CTA's second busiest rail line afterthe Red Line, with a total of 72,033 rides taken on an average weekday and 8,324 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 the CTA provides 1.5 million rides to Chicago and 40 suburbs, with a service area that covers nearly all of Cook County. Nearly 2 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.# # #