Investment that will modernize the historic transit hub demonstrates City of Chicago’s Commitment to the full comeback of the Loop
Today, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) unveiled the preliminary design concepts for a rebuilt State/Lake ‘L’ station, the latest marquee project in the modernization of the nation’s second-largest transit agency.
The new State/Lake CTA station will replace the more than 100-year-old existing structure with a modern, fully accessible rail hub with wider platforms and a host of customer amenities, built to 21st Century design standards. It includes wide balconies open to the public facing north and south that create scenic overlooks of State Street, including an up-close view of the landmark Chicago Theater. The bold architectural design is in keeping with recent signature stations, such as the 95th Street Terminal, the Washington/Wabash station, and the Damen Green Line station, which will begin construction later this year.
"Given that the State and Lake CTA Station lies within the beating heart of Chicago, we must pave the way for its full modernization and make it easily accessible for all transit riders," said Mayor Lightfoot. "In addition to accessibility, this project also demonstrates our commitment to the full revival of the Loop—which is the economic engine and cultural hub of our great city."
The current State/Lake station was originally built in 1895, as part of the original Loop elevated, and in 2019 was the second-busiest station on the Loop ‘L’, with more than 3.7 million annual entries. The station serves five of the CTA’s eight rail lines. The new design features a blend of old and new, retaining original design elements such as salvaged posts and railings that frame the vending and Customer Assistance kiosks.
“The intersection of State and Lake Streets is an iconic location in the heart of Chicago, and it deserves a station that makes a bold statement while meeting the needs of the 21st Century transit customer,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr.
"The design for the new State and Lake CTA station provides a first class, fully accessible new gateway serving transit riders from every corner of Chicago at this historic intersection in the center of the City,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. “The investment in this light-filled new transit hub sends a strong message that Chicago’s downtown is coming back better than ever from the challenges we’ve faced in the last year.”
The design and construction process are being led by CDOT on behalf of the CTA. The station design, by TranSystems/ Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), features platforms that are double the current width, to better accommodate customers. It also includes a full-coverage, glass canopy to protect customers from rain and snow, as well as a walkway connecting the inner and outer platforms.
The project will also add four elevators located at each corner of State and Lake — there are currently none — to make the station fully accessible, marking a big step in the CTA’s All Stations Accessibility Plan, a blueprint to make all CTA train stations accessible. The new station will also improve connectivity between the elevated lines of the downtown Loop and the underground Red Line on State Street.
To date, the project has been awarded $11 million in engineering and design funding and $119 million in construction funding through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program. The total estimated project cost is approximately $180 million, and the City of Chicago is seeking additional funding from various potential sources. Once the design process is complete and full funding is obtained, it will take about three years to complete construction of the new station.
CDOT is currently going through the federal NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process which is required in order to be eligible for federal funding. The process includes extensive outreach and consultation with stakeholders, including owners of adjacent properties.
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