Chicago Transit Authority officials gathered today at CTA's Kimball station on the Brown Line to announce that at 10 p.m. Friday evening, September 15 both the Kimball and Francisco stations will temporarily close to rail service as part of the Brown Line Capacity Expansion project. The Kimball station will temporarily close for four months, and Francisco will temporarily close for six months.
"Although temporary closure of these stations will inconvenience some customers, the end result will be improved facilities and service for all of our customers," said CTA President Frank Kruesi. ?The recent re-opening of the Kedzie and Rockwell stations will allow customers who use these stations as alternates to Kimball and Francisco to see firsthand the types of improvements they can expect to see as a result of CTA's investment in its rail system."
Improvements at both the Kimball and Francisco stations will include new and longer platforms to accommodate berthing eight-car trains instead of the current six-car trains, security cameras, brighter lighting, tactile edging on the platform and an upgraded public address system. At Francisco, the station house will be completely rebuilt and the station will be made accessible with the addition of a ramp and a wheelchair accessible turnstile.
Both Kimball and Francisco are located in areas where existing CTA service is plentiful. Customers who normally board at Francisco may use the newly renovated stations at Kedzie or Rockwell. Customers who normally board at Kimball will appreciate the improvements made to the recently re-opened Kedzie station. There is now an auxiliary entrance on Spaulding Avenue which is approximately one block from the Kimball station.
In addition to nearby rail stations, there are eight existing CTA bus routes that provide service near Francisco, the #11 Lincoln, #49 Western, #49B North Western, #X49 Western Express (weekdays only), #78 Montrose, #81 Lawrence, #82 Kimball/Homan and the #93 California/Dodge (no Sunday service). Four existing CTA bus routes provide service near Kimball, the #78 Montrose, #81 Lawrence, #82 Kimball/Homan and the #93 California/Dodge (no Sunday service).
Signs with the upcoming closure date and information on alternate service for Kimball and Francisco will be posted at both stations and on Brown Line trains, as well as at the Kedzie, Rockwell and Western stations. Information on the temporary closures, available service and overall project is also available on CTA's web site, www.transitchicago.com, or at www.ctabrownline.com.
On several select weekends, the Kedzie and Rockwell stations will also close to allow construction crews full access to the Kimball and Francisco stations without train traffic. The first will be the weekend of September 15. On that weekend Brown Line trains will operate from Western station to the Loop. Bus shuttle service will be provided to customers free of charge from Western station to Kimball station from 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday as a substitute for rail service. The bus shuttle will make stops at the Western station, Rockwell and Lawrence, Sacramento and Lawrence, Kedzie and Lawrence, Kedzie and Wilson, and at the Kimball station. Kedzie and Rockwell will re-open in time for service on Monday morning, September 18.
Customers in close proximity to the Kedzie station are also served by the following four CTA bus routes: #78 Montrose, #81 Lawrence, #82 Kimball/Homan and #93 California/Dodge (no Sunday service). Customers in close proximity to the Rockwell station are served by the following six CTA bus routes: #11 Lincoln, #49 Western, #49B North Western, #X49 Western Express, #78 Montrose and the #81 Lawrence.
Over the course of the three-year project, 11 other stations on the line are also subject to temporary closure. Work will continue to be scheduled so that no two consecutive stations are closed at the same time on weekdays. Temporary closures are necessary in order to have the type of access needed to extend platforms, make stations accessible, stay within budget and keep the project on schedule.
CTA will continue to provide advance notice and alternative service options for customers as schedules for temporary station closures are finalized.
Throughout the Brown Line construction project, slow zones and single track operation are periodically necessary near construction activity so, as a general rule, rail customers should allow extra travel time. Information on scheduled service impacts will be provided through Customer Alerts in rail stations, on CTA buses and trains, provided to media through press releases and posted on CTA's Brown Line web site at www.ctabrownline.com, as well as CTA's web site at www.transitchicago.com.
As part of the planning process, CTA has worked and continues to work with local Aldermen and business owners along the line to minimize the impact tobusinesses near temporarily closed stations. CTA is placing advertising cards on the Brown Line and on local bus routes encouraging customers to continue to support these businesses throughout the temporary closures.
As part of the $530 million Brown Line Capacity Expansion project, platforms will be lengthened to accommodate eight-car trains instead of the six-car trains currently in use, which will allow many more customers to board. In addition, stations will be made accessible to customers with disabilities by installing ramps or elevators and accessible turnstiles. The stations themselves will be rebuilt, with wider stairways, additional turnstiles and improved entrances and exits to allow for a better flow of customer traffic. The project is scheduled for completion on December 31, 2009.
Operating between downtown and the Northwest Side, the Brown Line was originally constructed in two phases, opening for service in 1900 and 1907. The line is the third busiest of CTA's rail lines, serving more than 66,000 customers each weekday, with 19 stations from Kimball on the north to the downtown Chicago Loop. # # #