Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr stations will be fully reconstructed into larger, modern rail stations that are ADA accessible; CTA also announces public input process for aesthetic improvements around new stations and artwork for the stations
New station and track construction to begin Spring 2021
Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) today unveiled the designs for four Red Line stations that will be fully reconstructed as part of the Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One project, the largest transit investment in CTA history and the latest among several Red Line improvement projects over the last decade.
CTA will rebuild the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr rail stations, transforming each into new, modern, larger, and fully accessible stations to customers with disabilities. The new stations will include elevators and escalators, wider platforms, and vastly improved amenities, better serving the more than four million customers who enter the stations each year.
The $2.1 billion RPM Phase One project is the first part of CTA’s plan to rebuild the Red and Purple lines between Linden and Belmont. Phase One work will benefit the entire Red Line by addressing chronic overcrowding and delays while modernizing infrastructure that is more than a century old. The Red Line is CTA’s busiest line, carrying nearly 70 million riders in 2019.
“Today’s station design unveilings mark a historic day for Chicago transit as we continue to rebuild and revamp CTA's busiest line, the Red Line,” said Mayor Lightfoot. "Public transit is the great connector of our city and with this monumental project, we are building on our obligation to ensure Chicago’s transportation network is accessible, reliable and affordable so our residents remain connected to jobs, education and opportunity."
“CTA’s Red Line forms the backbone of our City and is a critical transportation link for Chicagoans, including essential workers, who need efficient, reliable, and modern service each and every day,” said CTA President Dorval Carter. “The RPM project’s benefits extend beyond the project area by improving transit operations and by providing opportunities across the city through training, jobs, and contract opportunities that will be a model for future CTA projects like the Red Line Extension.”
“The public release of these new station designs represents a significant step forward in this project,” said Alderman Harry Osterman of the 48th Ward. “As CTA riders and local residents prepare for the needed construction ahead, these designs reflect the clean, safe, ADA accessible, and open stations that will serve our community well into the future.
“These new station designs represent significant opportunities for all Chicagoans as we continue to face the pandemic,” said Alderman James Cappleman of the 46th Ward. “CTA is going to play a pivotal role in Chicago’s recovery from COVID-19, and Red and Purple Modernization offers a blueprint on how to best accomplish our goals moving forward.”
RPM Phase One
RPM Phase One Project includes three major components:
- Reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr Red Line stations into larger, 100 percent accessible stations; and replacement of track structure totaling six track-miles that is a century old. Reconstruction work will begin in Spring 2021. The new stations are expected to open by the end of 2024.
- New Red-Purple Bypass construction (expected completion by the end of 2021), followed by the reconstruction of Red and Purple Line track structure between Belmont and Newport/Cornelia (expected completion by the end of 2024).
- Installation of a new signal system on 23 track miles between Howard and Belmont that, similar to roadway traffic signals, will improve train flow and service reliability.
New station designs
CTA will fully reconstruct the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr stations as well as rebuild and repair adjacent track structures. CTA stations are important cornerstones of the communities they serve, which informed the design of the stations. In developing the designs, CTA with construction contractor Walsh Fluor Design-Build Team and architectural firm EXP worked closely with people who live and work in the neighborhoods around the stations to develop designs to create an identity for each station, with each responding to the context and the culture of the local neighborhoods.
Hi-res renderings of the stations can be found here.
Current, above, and new, right
The Lawrence Red Line station first opened in 1923. The new design’s architecture incorporates influences from the surrounding area and includes a large glass bay to allow for natural lighting and added security. Lawrence’s 2019 ridership, measured by station entries, totaled 975,396.
Current, above, and new, right
The original Argyle Red Line station opened in 1908, the same year the Chicago Cubs won their last World Series before winning again in 2016. Originally a ground-level station, Argyle was rebuilt to its current elevated form in 1921. The new station design mixes both traditional and contemporary Asian architecture with contemporary American architecture and is overall reflective of the local Asian communities. Argyle had 970,130 riders in 2019.
Current, above, and new, right
The Berwyn Red Line station first opened in 1916 when Woodrow Wilson was U.S. president. The new Berwyn station design reconciles the residential area east of the station with its the commercial area to the west. Berwyn’s 2019 ridership totaled 1,013,553 riders.
Current, above, and new, right
The Bryn Mawr Red Line station first opened in 1908 as a ground-level station, when William Howard Taft was elected U.S. president. The station was rebuilt in 1921 to its current elevated form. Bryn Mawr’s new design adds a new entrance at Hollywood and incorporates the glazed terra cotta commonly found in local architecture into the station, while keeping the current historic columns that frame the entrance. Station entries at Bryn Mawr in 2019 was 1,390,206.
Lawrence, Berwyn stations to close; temporary stations at Argyle, Bryn Mawr open
CTA anticipates the start of reconstruction work to begin in Spring 2021 starting with demolition of existing structures. At that time, the Lawrence and Berwyn stations will close. CTA will open temporary rail stations at Argyle and Bryn Mawr to provide customers with access to Red Line service so that the original stationhouses can be reconstructed.
CTA will rebuild the tracks and stations between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr in two stages:
- Northbound Red and Purple Line tracks to be rebuilt in Stage A (2021-2022)
- Southbound tracks to be reconstructed in Stage B (2022-2024)
The track structure between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr, including viaducts and embankment structures, will be rebuilt and/or modernized as part of RPM. The first step of construction will include demolition of stations and track structures starting in Spring 2021.
Most of the new track structure in the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr project area will be built with pre-cast concrete segments that are created off-site, trucked in, and installed with a gantry system.
Station art and aesthetic improvements in the communities
The CTA will invite local residents to provide comment on the following components of the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr plan, including but not limited to:
- Station artwork
- Station illuminated sign panels
- Murals on embankment walls
Lawrence to Bryn Mawr: Virtual town hall meetings
CTA intends to hold virtual town hall meetings on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 for residents and customers of the Lawrence and Argyle Red Line stations and Thursday, March 4, 2021 for residents and customers of the Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations. Meeting times and registration information will be announced soon and both meetings will be open to the public.
The Red Line and RPM
The CTA’s Red Line provided more than 200,000 rides on average each weekday in 2019 and more than 67 million rides a year, serving some of the most densely populated neighborhoods in U.S.
The RPM Program, which will be done in multiple phases, will rebuild the 9.6-mile stretch of Red and Purple Line track structure and stations on the North Side that are a century old. RPM will replace aging infrastructure; increase CTA’s capacity to increase train service as needed; and improve our service for customers with more reliable, comfortable service. Future phases of RPM have not yet been announced and are currently unfunded.
Since RPM Phase One was announced in 2014, public meetings have been held to gather community input regarding the project. As a result, CTA has implemented community-based solutions in preparation of construction, including monthly virtual office hours to address questions or concerns by CTA riders or local residents impacted by RPM. CTA has also helped promote construction-affected businesses during utility work with Open for Business banners, social media posts, and encouraging project workers to eat and shop locally.
Red Line investment
RPM is just the latest in a number of Red Line projects announced and/or completed in the last decade, including:
- Red Line South Reconstruction
- Red North Station Interim Improvements
- 95th/Dan Ryan Station and Terminal Improvements
- Wilson Station Reconstruction
- Clark/Division Station Renovation
- Loyola Station Renovation
- Red Line Extension
Learn more about RPM online at transitchicago.com/RPM and sign up for project alerts at transitchicago.com/RPMalerts.
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