Mayor Richard M. Daley joined CTA President Ron Huberman and 47th Ward Alderman Gene Schulter at a ceremony today to commemorate the re-opening of the Irving Park Brown Line station and the upcoming re-opening of the Damen station.
Renovations at both stations are part of the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project. The Irving Park station re-opened to customers today and the Damen station is scheduled to re-open on the morning of Friday, December 19.
Both stations were rebuilt in the same locations and are now accessible to customers with disabilities due to the addition of elevators. The renovations bring the number of accessible CTA rail stations to 87.
“Capital investment projects such as these are vital to the economic health of the city and the region and to the Chicago Transit Authority’s viability in particular,” Mayor Daley said. “The CTA provides access to jobs and recreation throughout Chicago and 40 surrounding suburbs and it is important that we continue to modernize the system for the millions of people who depend upon the CTA for reliable, accessible public transportation.”
“The completion of the renovations at the Irving Park and Damen stations shows the progress the CTA is making toward renovating the third busiest rail line in the system and upgrading an aging infrastructure,” said CTA President Ron Huberman. “The Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project is nearing completion and we thank our customers for their continued patience while we complete this monumental undertaking.”
"I am thrilled to see this project come to fruition,” Alderman Schulter said. “This redevelopment project will ensure that the residents of the 47th Ward can continue to have quality public transportation options and will continue to support our diverse commercial districts.”
In addition to new elevators, the CTA also reconfigured the platforms at both stations to accommodate eight-car trains, which allow more customers to board. Other amenities include accessible turnstiles, brighter lighting, new signs - including Braille signs - and a bike rack.
The Irving Park station also has a new auxiliary exit on the south side of Irving Park Road, making it more convenient for customers to exit trains. The CTA also worked with the Chicago Department of Transportation to have a signaled crosswalk to assist customers crossing the street.
Irving Park and Damen are the thirteenth and fourteenth stations, respectively, of 18 stations included in the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project. To date, work also has been completed at Kimball, Kedzie, Rockwell, Francisco, Western, Sedgwick, Montrose, Addison, Southport, Armitage, Diversey and Chicago.
The Irving Park and Damen stations are part of a $58.4 million construction project that also included renovation work on the Addison and Montrose stations. The overall Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project budget is $530 million, with funding provided by a combination of federal and non-federal funds.
The Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project is on schedule and on budget with work remaining at the Belmont, Fullerton, Wellington and Paulina stations.
As part of the partnership between CTA and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, public art is part of each station renovation.
The Irving Park station features tile mosaics created by Juan Carlos Macias. The mosaics, which are located inside the stationhouse and on the elevator tower, depict customers riding public transportation.
At the Damen station, artist Ron Baron has created functional artwork for the platforms that includes furniture made from briefcases that CTA customers can sit on for added convenience.
Prior to the start of construction, the average weekday ridership at the Damen station was 2,614 and the average weekday ridership at Irving Park was 2,948. Average weekday ridership on the Brown Line is currently 80,000.
# # #