April 9, 2009

Mayor Richard M. Daley, CTA and other officials today formally opened the new Paulina station after a 12-month closure as part of the Brown Line capacity expansion project.

“I want to thank the CTA riders for putting up with inconvenience of the closed station,” Daley said in a news conference held at the new facility, 3410 N. Lincoln Av.

“But what has replaced the old station is a state of the art facility that is fully accessible to passengers with disabilities and that moves us closer to our goal of providing a public transit system that is clean, and stations, buses and trains that are up-to-date,” he said.

The new stationhouse, which was built across the street from the site of the old stationhouse, features two new elevators for accessibility. With the reopening of Paulina, 88 of 144 rail stations on the CTA system are accessible to persons with disabilities.

The old site of the stationhouse has become an auxiliary entrance/exit for added customer convenience. 

“In today’s economy, more and more people are using public transportation for their trips.  Infrastructure improvements such as this are vital to ensuring there is a reliable system available for their use,” said CTA President Richard L. Rodriguez.

“The Brown Line capacity expansion project has been a tremendous undertaking and I’m pleased to report that the project remains on budget and on schedule for completion later this year,” he said.

The platforms at the station were reconfigured 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. 

Paulina is the fifteenth of 18 stations included in the Brown Line capacity expansion project to be completed. Prior to construction, the average weekday ridership at the Paulina station was 2,916.  Average weekday ridership on the Brown Line is more than 80,000.
To date, work also has been completed at Kimball, Kedzie, Rockwell, Francisco, Western, Sedgwick, Montrose, Addison, Southport, Armitage, Diversey, Chicago, Damen and Irving Park.

The only station now closed for construction is Wellington, which will reopen to customers at the end of the summer.  Although construction remains underway at Belmont and Fullerton, service continues to operate at both stations.

As part of the partnership between CTA and the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, artwork is part of each station renovation.  At the Paulina station, Chicago-based artist Barbara Cooper created a suspended brass and stainless steel sculpture for the atrium and a cut-glass tile mosaic mural for the mezzanine entitled Transitions.

The artist describes the work as depicting the fluid, high-energy neighborhoods of the city and the connections and intersections between them, which public transportation facilitates.

“Every day, more than 1.7 million people from Chicago and across the region use public transportation to get to and from work each day and to live their lives. This new station represents a great enhancement of our transportation system and moves us closer to our goal of bringing accessible, reliable service to riders of the Brown Line and to riders of the CTA system everywhere in Chicago,” he said.

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