March 28, 2009

Mayor Richard M. Daley joined Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole Brown, Chicago Transit Authority President Richard L. Rodriguez and 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore at a ceremony today to commemorate the completion of the Red Line Howard Station rehabilitation project.

“A modern public transportation system is essential to the future of our state, our region and our city and the Howard Station was greatly in need of renovation,” said Mayor Daley. “But, make no mistake; if we’re going to continue to provide a safe and reliable system of public transportation, we need help from both the federal and state governments to meet our infrastructure needs.” The Mayor noted that while Congress has passed an economic stimulus package that is helping to complete several public transit projects, the City was still waiting for the state to act.

Last week, the CTA re-opened the newly renovated Howard Red Line auxiliary station entrance at 1649 West Howard to customers which marked the final phase of the project. The new stationhouse at the south end of Paulina Street opened last June.

The overall renovation project included: building a modern ADA (American with Disabilities Act) accessible station equipped with four newly installed elevators, two new escalators, gap fillers and tactile edging, bike racks, new stationhouse and renovated platform areas, brighter lighting, benches, new wind breaks and canopies to protect customers during inclement weather.  To date, 87 of CTA’s 144 rail stations are accessible.

“With the help of Mayor Daley, Illinois lawmakers and the Illinois FIRST capital program, we were able to secure the funding needed for renovations here at Howard,” said Chicago Transit Board Chairman Carole L. Brown.  “Adequate capital funding is essential for CTA to make much needed improvements.  Without a capital funding program, maintenance will have to be deferred; the system will deteriorate and the progress we’ve made over the past few years will be eroded.”

“We are pleased to mark the completion of renovations at the Howard station,” said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez.  “Modernizing the station and making it accessible to customers with disabilities helps to meet the transit needs of CTA customers who ride the system today and for many years to come, and when additional capital funding is identified we will be able to continue these types of improvements.”

The new stationhouse provides a convenient connection between the station platforms and the multi-story parking garage and bus terminal on the west side of the station.  In addition, the Howard Street viaduct and retail space on the north side of the street were rehabilitated. 

As part of the construction project, original artwork also will be installed this summer.  A suspended stainless steel sculpture titled “24/7” was designed by Carla Arocha and Stephane Schraenen for the main entrance on Paulina.  Amy Cheng created a ceramic tile mural titled “Destination:  Points Unknown” which will be positioned on the rear wall of the entrance on Howard.

Howard station serves as a free transfer point between the CTA Red, Yellow and Purple lines for more than 13,000 customers on an average weekday.  In addition, seven CTA bus routes and two Pace bus routes also serve the Howard station.

Rail ridership at the Howard station is 5,982 on an average weekday; 4,228 rides on an average Saturday and 3,063 rides on an average Sunday.  In 2008, ridership for the year at the station was 1,929,004.  The Red Line totaled approximately 66 million rides in 2008. 

The Howard station was originally built in 1908 and rebuilt in the 1920s.

Funding for the project was provided by the state’s now expired Illinois FIRST program, the Federal Transit Administration, Illinois Department of Transportation, Regional Transportation Authority and CTA bond revenue. 

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