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Frequently Asked Questions

General

Advance utility relocation work

Lawrence-Bryn Mawr Modernization

Red-Purple Bypass

COVID-19

RPM Open for Business

 

General

What is the RPM Program?

The CTA will rehabilitate and rebuild the Red and Purple lines from just north of Belmont station to Linden station through the multi-phase Red and Purple Modernization program.

Once fully realized, the RPM Program could double passenger capacity and bring the rail lines into a state of good repair for the next 60 to 80 years, reducing travel times, improving access to job markets and destinations and providing improved access to people with disabilities.

RPM is part of CTA’s Red Ahead Program, a comprehensive initiative for maintaining, modernizing, and expanding Chicago’s most-traveled rail line. All Red Ahead Projects are mutually beneficial; an improvement in one area of the Red Line benefits the entire line.

Why do the North Red and Purple lines need to be modernized?

The Red and Purple lines have reached the end of their useful lifespans. Most tracks and bridges are at least100 years old. Continuing to operate two rail lines – one of which is the busiest rail line providing 24/7 service – on this outdated infrastructure results in the need for frequent repairs that disrupt service and slow travel, unusually high maintenance costs, and outdated stations that can’t accommodate modern amenities for all our customers.

This segment of the Red and Purple lines carries more than 20 percent of all CTA rail rides and serves customers in some of the densest neighborhoods in Chicago. 

The Red Line needs to expand to serve more riders, yet with current infrastructure constraints it has reached capacity. If nothing is done to add more frequent and longer trains to accommodate more riders, trains will become more crowded and passengers will wait longer.

What is Phase One of the RPM Program?

The first phase of the RPM improvements includes three main components and are necessary to meet future ridership demand:

  1. Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project: Completely rebuilding four aging stations: Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr, including expanding and modernizing the stations with the addition of elevators and other amenities to make each accessible to customers with disabilities and limited mobility.
  2. Red-Purple Bypass Project: Construction of a rail bypass north of the Belmont station to allow the CTA to address the capacity constraint it currently faces because of an outdated rail intersection traveled by three rail lines. The bypass will allow the CTA to add train service as ridership grows and to eliminate delays where the Red, Purple and Brown lines all intersect and trains must stand and wait for other trains to pass. In addition, the project will rebuild the Red and Purple line tracks from just north of the Belmont station to the segment of track between Newport and Cornelia Avenues, increasing train speeds and improving passenger comfort with added capacity.
  3. Corridor Signal Improvement Project: Replacing a 50-year track signal system between Howard and Belmont, improve train operations and service reliability.

Future phases of RPM would bring the same level of infrastructure and station improvements to the Red and Purple lines from north of the Belmont station to the Linden station in Wilmette.

How were the Phase One projects identified?

CTA considered the entire RPM corridor and looked to identify a package of projects that brought the greatest amount of benefits to Red and Purple Line riders, while minimizing impacts on the surrounding communities that rely upon these rail lines for their daily travel needs. The Phase One projects will benefit 88 percent of all current RPM corridor trips – approximately 110,000 trips every weekday. The two projects combined are expected to save customers using the RPM corridor approximately one million hours of travel time a year.

1.  Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project:  

  • Approximately 45,000 people live within ½ mile of these stations, which is twice as dense as the average Chicago neighborhood.
  • More than 28,000 trips currently begin or end at the four stations being reconstructed.
  • None of the stations in this segment of the Red Line are accessible to people with disabilities or those with limited mobility.
  • The almost 80,000 trips that typically travel through this segment of track will benefit from the faster service and a smoother ride once the project is complete.
  • The Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project will replace 1.3 miles of the most difficult structures to maintain – the 90-year-old embankment walls – and completely rebuild four stations to be modern, spacious and accessible.
  • This project will continue the construction of consistent modern infrastructure from the adjacent Wilson Station Reconstruction Project, which was completed in 2017.

 

2. Red-Purple Bypass Project:

  • Existing rush period ridership requires as many trains as Clark Junction capacity allows – demand has grown over the long term and we are at capacity. CTA cannot add any additional service at this time.
  • The almost 150,000 rides every weekday on the Red, Purple and Brown line trains that have to travel through this intersection will benefit from the improved reliability and reduction in delays.
  • The Red-Purple Bypass Project will allow the CTA to meet current and future transit demand needs. By removing this major bottleneck, train speeds can improve, additional service can be added and customers traveling on the Red, Purple and Brown lines can benefit from more reliable service.
  • This project will be the single largest capacity expansion and time savings-element of all the improvements considered in the RPM corridor.

 

Why are both components of Phase One needed?

Both projects identified for Phase One of RPM are necessary to complete to meet the goal of adding more rail service capacity to the Red Line and will benefit the greatest number of customers.
 

How will my riding experience be improved?

Brand new stations will be constructed and feature a number of new amenities to improve the overall customer experience, including:

  • New elevators and escalators (ADA access)
  • Wider platforms
  • Wider stairwells
  • Additional turnstiles
  • New brighter and additional lighting
  • New signage, including Braille
  • Additional bike parking
  • Longer, modern steel-framed, translucent canopies
  • More benches and windscreens
     

Reconstructed tracks and structures will allow CTA to provide the following improved customer experience:

  • More train service
  • Less crowding as ridership grows
  • More reliable service
  • Shorter wait times
  • Fewer delays
  • Faster speeds
  • Smoother tracks
  • Quieter ride

     

Why is ADA access important?

Improvements made under the guidance of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will provide access to transit services for people who may have difficulty navigating stairs or require specific audio and/or visual cues. By making these stations fully ADA accessible, we are making sure that all people within the community can access and benefit from public transit services.

How is CTA funding this project?

RPM Phase One is funded through a combination of federal and local funds including: $957 in federal Core Capacity funds (FTA); a federal $125 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) grant from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP); $622 million in Transit TIF (tax-increment financing) funds from the City of Chicago; and CTA financing.

CTA anticipates future phases of RPM to be funded through a mix of federal, state and local funds.

Did CTA acquire private property for these projects and how did CTA do so?

Some private commercial and residential properties were acquired to construct portions of the RPM Phase One improvements. Properties were required to expand station platforms, remove slow and unnecessary curves in the tracks and to construct the Red-Purple Bypass infrastructure. CTA has already acquired and demolished the properties it needs to construct the RPM Phase One project.

To minimize the number of properties necessary for the project, CTA considered many possible alternatives before determining which properties were necessary for Phase One. CTA used innovative engineering techniques during the development of the projects to reduce neighboring property impacts as much as possible, including implementing alley-spanning structures and adjusting platform widths and positions.

To mitigate the impact of acquisition, property owners were protected by the federal Uniform Act on relocation assistance and property acquisition. 

More information about specific properties required for RPM Phase One

Will stations be permanently closed or consolidated during this project?

There will be no permanent closures or consolidation of the four stations contained in Phase One of the RPM Project. During construction, the Lawrence and Berwyn stations will close for reconstruction in May 2021. CTA will provide temporary stations at Argyle and Bryn Mawr to provide rail access to customers while reconstructing those two stations. Those temporary stations will serve passengers until the new stations are completed and by the end of 2024.

How will construction impact my neighborhood?

Temporary street closures will be required as part of the construction process in order for construction crews to be effective and efficient, while also providing a safe working environment for both the crews and local residents and their property. CTA and its contractor, Walsh-Fluor, actively coordinate with residents and businesses to provide notification of upcoming work, ensure continued access to property and provide alternative parking for residents who need it. Contractors are required to provide off-street parking off site for construction workers to maintain on-street parking availability.

Will residents be provided tax relief during construction?

We understand that residents living in the project’s footprint will occasionally be affected by construction activities, including temporary street and alley closures, noise and more. During construction, we will coordinate closely with the project’s design-build contractor to mitigate impacts of construction on local residents and their daily lives, including parking, garbage pickup, etc.

We continue to meet regularly with resident groups, from condo buildings to residents on city blocks, to explain the project and listen to their concerns, which will help us develop plans to support residents during construction.

The project funds CTA is utilizing to construct the RPM Phase One Project are not permitted to be used to provide tax relief to private individuals or businesses. At this time, CTA is not aware of any outside funding sources for tax relief during construction and any questions about tax relief would need to be directed to the City.

What is the impact going to be for residents that reside directly next to the area of construction?  

There will be impacts during construction, including temporary closures of alleys, streets, sidewalks and parking and station closures. There will also be noise, dust and truck traffic.

During construction, we will coordinate closely with Walsh-Fluor to mitigate impacts of construction on local residents and their daily lives and ensure access to services including garbage pickup and parking.

Will we lose access to our alley and our garage/covered parking area and, if so, how long?

Alley closures will be required for the project, including closures with long durations. Advance notification will be provided to affected residents and businesses.

Walsh-Fluor will be responsible for providing alternative parking when an alley is closed. Advance notification will be provided to residents as well as alternative parking information.

Is there a timeline for when the work will happen?

Walsh-Fluor, the design-build contractor selected to construct the project, began project design work in 2019. Because this project is a "design-build", the contractor is continually construction sequencing and schedules as project design progresses.  Below is the expected timeline for the project:

2019 Project engineering and design work
Fall 2019 Major construction begins on Red-Purple Bypass
Early 2020 Track improvement work between Thorndale and Montrose begins late December 2019 and continues in 2020 to prepare tracks to carry Red and Purple Line trains on two tracks (instead of the usual four) during construction 2021-2024
Spring 2021 Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Stage A station/track reconstruction begins
Spring 2021 Lawrence and Berwyn stations close; temporary stations at Argyle and Bryn Mawr open
Summer/Fall 2021 Red-Purple Bypass completed
Summer/Fall 2021 Reconstruction of Red, Purple Line tracks between Belmont on the south and between Newport and Cornelia on the north begins
2024 New Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations open; Red and Purple Line track reconstruction north of Belmont expected to be completed
2025 RPM project to be fully completed

What are the noise impacts during construction and after construction?

During construction, noise from construction machinery can be expected. The contractor will have specifications requiring “best practices” to limit construction noise. Following construction, noise levels are projected to be appreciably less than existing. The new structure will include noise barriers and other features (much like the structure crossing Belmont Avenue now) to substantially decrease noise levels.

Will construction workers park in my neighborhood?

Construction specifications will require the contractor to provide off-street parking for construction workers so that on-street parking will remain available for access to businesses and neighborhood parking. There will be some on-street parking impacts in the vicinity of the rail line due to construction activities.

What is the estimated project timeline?

The RPM Program is scheduled to be completed in phases. Phasing effectively allows CTA to make the greatest amount of improvements to the Red and Purple lines while minimizing impacts on the surrounding community, which relies upon these rail lines for their daily travel needs. Construction of the Red-Purple Bypass Project is began in fall 2019 and major construction on the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization project begins May 16, 2021. The project is expected to be completed in 2025.

How did CTA select contractors to build this project?

In 2017, CTA began the comprehensive process of seeking the most qualified design and construction firms in the industry to design and build Phase One of RPM. As part of a two-step procurement process, the CTA issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to select the most qualified contracting teams that can demonstrate the ability to design and build RPM Phase One. CTA finalized the short list of candidates in late 2017 and has asked  to submit proposals on how they propose designing and building RPM Phase One through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process. The CTA selected Walsh-Fluor as the project's design-build contractor in 2018.

Why isn’t the Sheridan Red Line station part of Phase One?

The Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Program will be completed in phases, which allows us to make the greatest number of improvements while also minimizing impacts on riders and the surrounding communities. The current phase is RPM Phase One.

The Future RPM Program will tackle the needs of Sheridan station, including providing ADA access. Work on the Future RPM Program began in 2009 as part of the Vision Study; however, extensive analysis, planning, public outreach, and design will be necessary to further develop a blueprint for implementing the Future RPM Program. Phases of the Future RPM Program will be developed through a series of studies and public outreach processes. CTA anticipates that the Future RPM Program will be funded through a mix of federal, state, and local funds, pending funding availability.

When will future phases of RPM be built?

The Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Program is a  multi-stage project to  allow us to make the greatest number of improvements while minimizing impacts on riders and the surrounding communities.

Extensive analysis, planning, public outreach, and design will be required to further develop a blueprint for implementing the Future RPM Program. Phases of the Future RPM Program will be developed through a series of studies and public outreach processes. CTA anticipates that the Future RPM Program will be funded through a mix of federal, state, and local funds, pending funding availability.

What is the estimated timeline when Purple Line stations will be renovated?

The Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Program is a  multi-stage project to be completed in phases, which allows us to make the greatest number of improvements while also minimizing impacts on riders and the surrounding communities.

Currently, future phases of RPM include the reconstruction of all Purple Line stations and track structures between Howard and Linden, including making all stations fully accessible. Extensive analysis, planning, public outreach, and design will be required to further develop a blueprint for implementing the Future RPM Program. Phases of the Future RPM Program will be developed through a series of studies and public outreach processes.

How can I receive updates and stay involved throughout the entire process?

Anyone can request to be added to the RPM contact list by sending an email to RPM@transitchicago.com or you can register directly for construction alerts by clicking here. Members of the contact list will receive upcoming meeting notices, as well as future updates about the RPM Program and Phase One projects. Information about the RPM Program is also available on this project website.

If you are part of a community group that would like to learn more about the RPM Phase One projects, please send information about your organization and your upcoming meeting dates to us at RPM@transitchicago.com.

Advance utility relocation work

What is advance utility relocation work, why is it necessary, and how does it affect me?

An important part of the preparation necessary to build RPM Phase One is the relocation of utility lines and equipment ahead of building new CTA infrastructure. Advancing this utility relocation ahead of major construction activities will allow for a more efficient and streamlined construction effort.

Utility relocation work is being performed in both of the Phase One project areas: Red-Purple Bypass and Lawrence to Bryn Mawr. The work includes relocating overhead power and communications lines underground and installing shorter power poles, all necessary to make room for new track structure that will be constructed.

Temporary alley and street closures are occasionally necessary. CTA has been working closely with utility providers, which are performing the actual utility relocation work on CTA’s behalf, to minimize service disruptions and provide ample notice to local communities of the work via Construction Activity Notices (CANs) posted in the affected communities and provided to local aldermen. 

Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization

Will there be rail service disruptions or station closures during construction?

While rebuilding the stations and tracks, CTA plans to maintain service along the entire length of the Red Line. CTA anticipates completing reconstruction work in two stages, with temporary station closures, and alternating two-track service. Two stations will be open in the four-station corridor during both stages of construction. Because four tracks of Red and Purple Line traffic will be merged onto to tracks during construction, service will be affected and delays can be expected. We strongly recommend planning ahead and allowing extra travel time.

How will bus service to the Red Line at Lawrence and Berwyn be affected during construction?

Once Stage A begins on May 16, the #81 Lawrence bus will be rerouted to the Wilson Red & Purple Line transfer station. The #92 Foster bus will be rerouted to the Bryn Mawr Red Line temporary station. The #146 Inner Drive will continue its stop/layover at Berwyn/Broadway.

What will the new stations and support structures look like?

The current structure is nearly 100 years old, and near the end of its useful lifespan. These structures will be modernized to meet all Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) clearance standards, and portions of the embankment will be removed near station areas to create improved sightlines. Further design will determine how much of the embankment will need to be removed. A new structure is needed to construct wider platforms and expand over the alleys in order to minimize building impacts. The below images show concepts of how the support structures and new stations could look.

With wider platforms and more frequent trains should neighbors expect an increase in noise?

Where tracks are modernized, noise levels would be similar to today, and in some areas, quieter because of improved technologies and construction methods aimed at reducing noise, such as continuous welded rail, closed deck structure and noise barriers along both sides of the track.

How is this different than the recent station rehabs?

As part of Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization, CTA will tear down and rebuild entire stations. This is different from recent station rehab projects, which involved replacing platforms and canopies, new paint, new lighting, etc. but otherwise reused the existing station structure. In addition, this approach will allow for the entire track structure between stations to be torn down and replaced.

Why did CTA perform the station rehabs if it was only planning to tear the stations down in the next few years?

The interim improvements made in 2013 were necessary because we could no longer postpone repairs that needed our immediate attention. We wanted to be good stewards of the existing infrastructure, as we continue to plan for the implementation of the RPM project, in phases.

What’s happening with the public artwork that was recently installed?

The interim repairs and rehab work performed in 2013 at the seven North Red Line stations – Jarvis, Morse, Granville, Thorndale, Berwyn, Argyle and Lawrence –was intended to help extend the life of the facilities and bring them to state of good repair as we continued planning for the RPM project. When commissioning the public artwork that was installed as part of that rehab effort, we understood there was a very good chance that these stations would be rebuilt from the ground up, which is why steps were taken to ensure the artwork could be re-installed in a new facility.

How will the historic stations be treated during the reconstruction?

Even through the stations will be completely reconstructed, the architecture will recognize that several of the stations are in historic districts. At Argyle and Bryn Mawr stations in particular, the portion of the station house facing the street will be in keeping with the districts. The scale of the station house, the spacing of windows and doors, and potentially preservation of prairie-style columns were incorporated into the new station designs.

Could CTA simply install an elevator instead of fully rebuilding stations?

Completely rebuilding the stations is needed because the stations are a century old and in need of reconstruction. What's more, elevators need the wider platforms the new stations will offer to safely accommodate passengers and provide clearance for mobility devices.

What ADA changes would be made to stations as part of the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project?

The four stations included in the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project (Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr) are not currently ADA accessible and have limited accessibility for the elderly, people with disabilities, and people with children and strollers. These stations have also been identified by the CTA’s Infrastructure Accessibility Task Force as the highest priority stations in the RPM corridor. As part of RPM Phase One, these four stations would receive elevators and other amenities such as improved and braille signage; visual and audible way-finding; improved lighting in and around stationhouses; firmer, more defined surfaces; and improved weather protection for customers on sidewalks and platforms in addition to the elevator access provisions.

How can I receive updates and stay involved throughout the entire process?

Anyone can request to be added to the RPM contact list by sending an email to RPM@transitchicago.com. Members of the contact list will receive upcoming meeting notices, as well as future updates about the RPM Program and Phase One projects. Information about the RPM Program is also available on the project website.

Why won’t you have temporary stations at Lawrence and Berwyn?

There is not enough space available to build temporary stations at those locations, unfortunately. Passengers who normally board at Lawrence can use Wilson or Argyle stations, which are each a quarter mile away and connected via the #36 Broadway bus, and Berwyn customers can use the Bryn Mawr or Argyle stations.

We will reroute some bus routes so that customers who access Lawrence station using the #81 Lawrence bus or Berwyn station using the #92 Foster bus will be able to transfer to an open station, while the Lawrence and Berwyn stations are closed.

Will the new temporary stations at Bryn Mawr and Argyle have Ventra machines?

Yes, the temporary stations will offer customers the ability to use Ventra machines to load value, check balances and more.

How high will the new track structure be from what’s there currently today, and will it be high enough that semis no longer get stuck under the bridges?

The new structure will meet all local and state standards for height requirements. Depending on location, the existing track structure at the rail level is about 15-16 feet high. The new tracks will be 5-10 feet higher, depending upon location.

To build the new track structure, how many concrete bridge segments are going to be added and how are they joined? And where are the pre-cast segments made?

The pre-cast segments for the new Lawrence to Bryn Mawr track structure are currently being manufactured by Utility Concrete Products in Morris, Ill., and are trucked to Chicago. The new structure will use more than 1,500 segments, each about 10 feet long. The segments will be pulled together using temporary bars (segment to segment) and ultimately post-tensioned (or pulled together) using stainless steel post tension cables.

West Bryn Mawr Avenue is a historic district and the new aesthetic appears very modern in its detailing. How does the design reflect the neighborhood and its history?

Bryn Mawr, like the other three Red Line stations being reconstruction in RPM Phase One, will feature glazed terra cotta facades that are consistent with other buildings in the community. 

Why are auxiliary exits at three of the four stations exit-only?

It’s important to note that all four of the Red Line stations that will be reconstructed will be fully accessible to customers with disabilities. Each of these stations will have a main stationhouse that is accessible with an elevator and escalator, and each station will have a secondary or auxiliary stationhouse.

According to city and federal regulations, 60 percent of all public entrances to a newly constructed transit facility must be fully accessible to customers with disabilities. The new main stationhouses for Lawrence, Argyle and Berwyn stations will all have escalator and elevator access. Unfortunately, the auxiliary stations cannot also be entrances because they also would have to be accessible to comply with code requirements. Because of site constraints and funding considerations, we are unable to add an elevator at the auxiliary locations.

Bryn Mawr is a different situation. It will have two accessible entrances at the main stationhouse and on W. Hollywood Avenue, so under the “60 percent” code requirement, this station can have a third entrance that is not accessible, which is why it is the only one of the four stations that will have entrance and exit capability at the auxiliary entrance on Bryn Mawr.

Will existing art at station houses be incorporated into the new permanent stations?

We plan to incorporate existing art in the new stations.

Where will the new station entrances and exits be?

Lawrence station:
Main entrance, accessible: north side of street
Auxiliary exit: south side of street
Argyle station:
Main entrance, accessible: north side of street
Auxiliary exit: south side of street
Berwyn station:
Main entrance, accessible: south side of street
Auxiliary exit: north side of street
Bryn Mawr station:
Bryn Mawr Ave main entrance, accessible: north side of street
Bryn Mawr Ave auxiliary entrance: south side of street
Hollywood Ave auxiliary entrance, accessible: south side of street

How can the community provide input about new art?

Public artwork is an important part of new and renovated CTA stations. We are excited that there will be new public art created for each of the four stations. CTA will seek proposals from artists and there will be an opportunity for the public to provide feedback into the type of art that is developed for each station via public meetings.

How does each station design tie into the history of the surrounding neighborhoods?

CTA stations are important cornerstones of the communities they serve, which is why we took into consideration form in addition to function so the new stations reflect the communities around them and provide a pleasant aesthetic appearance for pedestrians and customers. We worked closely with people who live and work in the neighborhoods around the stations, to develop designs that aim to create an identity for each station, each responding to the context and/or the culture within they reside. The stations will retain what makes them special, including the prairie-style columns to honor the architectural history.

Will the new stations have anti-graffiti coating?

The terracotta has a glazed surface like a glazed brick or a tile, so it is naturally resistant to graffiti and will have an added coating to mitigate any potential damage.

What is happening to the pagoda at Argyle station?

We are working with the local alderman and community to move the Asia on Argyle sign and pagoda structure to create a gateway entrance to the Argyle area at the intersection of N. Sheridan Road and W. Argyle Avenue.

Are the destination logos on the renderings shown on the front of each new station permanent or proposed?

The community identifiers in the station renderings are conceptual. We will communicate with the community around each station to determine what station identifiers will look like.

It’s difficult to cross the street at a number of Red Line stations. Will the crosswalks will be signalized?

There are no plans to signalize the crosswalks, though there will be additional signage and pavement markings in accordance with Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) standards to direct drivers to allow pedestrians to cross.

Since there will be deep drilling for the foundations of the track structure, have there been any considerations for having a geothermal heat sink/heat pump to have heating on the platforms for ice melt to reduce the usage of the warmers that don’t work well in the winter?

A geothermal heat sink/heat pump is not a method of snow melting that is typical for CTA facilities. Due to concerns with maintenance with this type of heating system, it was not considered in the design of the station platforms on this project. There will be warming shelters on the new platforms for customers and CTA will continue to clear the platforms of snow and ice to provide a safe walking surface for customers.

What measures are in place to protect pedestrians during construction and closures?

Keeping the public and our employees safe during construction is our highest priority, while also minimizing the impacts to pedestrians as much as possible. For example, the contractor will maintain pedestrian, bicycle, residential, and business access, along with at least one thru lane in each direction of traffic, during any partial street closures. 

To keep pedestrians safe, the contractor will use a number of tools, including using temporary barrier walls, fencing and screens to separate pedestrians from construction areas and vehicular traffic and covered walkways with clear signage for pedestrians.

Will there be Purple Line access at the new temporary stations?

There will be no changes to Purple Line service during construction. Purple Line trains will not stop at the temporary stations.

Will Google Maps and transit apps show service changes when work begins?

Yes, all the service changes will be provided in the GTFS (General Transit Feed Specification) dataset that CTA provides to Google and makes available for third party developers for their apps and websites.

Why does the #146 bus still have to go to Berwyn; why isn't also being rerouted to connect to an open Red Line station?

We do not plan to alter the #146 bus route because there isn’t a better alternative route, and the percentage of #146 bus riders who transfer to the Red Line is low..

The two likely options for Red Line connections—one stop north at Bryn Mawr, and one stop south at Argyle—pose challenges. Bryn Mawr Ave. is a narrow arterial street subject to congestion that already hosts one bus route (#84 Peterson) and will have a second (#92 Foster) during Stage A. Adding a third may exacerbate traffic issues. To the south, the shared street design of Argyle Ave. is poorly suited to bus traffic, making it an unsuitable path for routing buses to the temporary Red Line station there. Routing it to another arterial street would involve excessive added mileage and travel time for customers. Given these constraints and the low level of transfer traffic, the #146 will remain starting/ending and laying over at Berwyn/Broadway. Any customers needing to transfer between the #146 and the Red Line can walk two (2) blocks between the #146 stop at Foster/Broadway and the temporary Argyle Red Line station.

Where will the rerouted #92 bus lay over on Bryn Mawr and will it block traffic?

The #92 will lay over eastbound on Bryn Mawr at Winthrop; the layover zone will be along the curb between the alley east of the ‘L’ and Winthrop (1101-1109 W. Bryn Mawr). Buses laying over will not block traffic—they will lay over along the curb, out of the traffic lane.

Will there be an extension of owl services for the #36 Broadway bus?

At this time, there is no plan for adding owl (overnight) service on the #36 Broadway bus. However, we will continue to monitor ridership levels, patterns and demand, service quality, vehicle capacity, and community feedback, and make adjustments to service as needed.

For seniors or people with disabilities, how will they get to remaining open train stations if construction is planned through 2024?

Both the Lawrence and Berwyn stations are 2-3 blocks from an open station (Wilson, Argyle and Bryn Mawr) during construction. In addition, both the Lawrence and Berwyn stations, which will close for reconstruction, are served by bus routes that can take customers directly from the closed station to an open station. The #81 Lawrence will take customers from the closed Lawrence station to the adjacent, ADA-accessible Wilson station, and the #92 Foster will take customer from the closed Berwyn station (board at Broadway/Berwyn) to the adjacent temporary Bryn Mawr station.

All closed and open stations are also served by the #36 Broadway. In some cases, depending where the customer’s journey begins, one of these buses may also be boarded closer to their origin than the nearest closed station.

Also note that while a transfer is paid when transferring from bus to the train, bus fare is lower than train fare, and the combination of bus fare+transfer is the same as train fare. So, a customer using a bus to get to the train will pay the same total amount (full or reduced fare) as if the customer had just entered the train station directly. (See http://transitchicago.com/fares for more information on fares.)

How will info about the bus reroutes and temporary stations be distributed beyond at the stations?

Information about service impacts, including bus reroutes and temporary stations, will be posted to the CTA website (in the RPM section, as well as in the Service Alerts section and on the Red Line route page), and on CTA’s social media channels (Facebook, Twitter). Subscribers to RPM Alerts or CTA Updates alerts can have information sent directly by email or SMS (text message). Bus reroute alerts will be posted at bus stops and onboard buses. Printed project and service impact information will be delivered to each residence and business in the project area.

Are you coordinating with Metra and its new station project at Peterson so that traffic doesn’t become a problem?

Both agencies coordinate with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the local alderman’s office on street closures and impacts, which work in coordination to make sure that simultaneous projects don’t create an undue impact. We have worked extensively with CDOT and the alderman's office on what streets we can close or other impacts, such as lane closures, to make sure we balanced different community needs as well as impacts on the larger city street network.

Will the CTA or Walsh-Fluor require residents with cars to sign a liability waiver for their vehicles?

Residents will not be required to sign a waiver.

What is the parking plan if we can’t park at the alternative parking locations including Nookies?

The contractor has committed to providing free, alternative parking during extended closures within 15 minutes or less travel time.  Enough alternative spaces will be available for residents.

What is the process going to be for notifying residents about their parking restriction?

The contractor will notify you ahead of time of parking impacts, including blocked access to garages and parking spots. Notification is typically provided 1-2 weeks in advance. Residents whose parking is blocked will have access to the Parqex app and will be able to see which spaces are available and reserve a spot. Residents who wish to use alternative parking need to provide contact info and license plate to Walsh-Fluor to register with the app.

What is the difference between daily and extended closures; during daily closures, will alternative parking still be available? 

The contractor will provide alternative parking during construction for both daily alley closures from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. as well as extended alley closures that will last for multiple weeks to months.

What is the plan to secure parking in the next four weeks?

We understand residents’ safety concerns. The contractor has identified parking lots that will have controlled access and be managed by a professional parking company, which will handle monitoring and enforcement of parking. Walsh-Fluor will work with the CTA, the alderman’s offices and law enforcement to make them aware of when neighbors will be walking to these local lots.

What is the plan for construction-worker parking?

Contractors are required to provide off-street parking off site for construction workers to maintain on-street parking availability.

How will the Nookies parking lot work since there is no structure?

The lot will be monitored by the parking management company. Unauthorized vehicles will be towed.

Were there considerations for permit parking in the community?

CTA does not have the authority to grant permit parking. That request would need to be made to the local alderman.

Will Walsh-Fluor work with residents if they are having construction done to their properties?

The contractor will make every effort to accommodate the needs of residents. We encourage residents with upcoming issues to notify the contractor or CTA at RPM@transitchicago.com.

 

Red-Purple Bypass Project

Is the purpose of the Red-Purple Bypass to just reduce short train delays?

The Bypass is absolutely necessary if the Red Line is going to continue to serve riders and provide quality, reliable service. The daily delays to rail service are the symptom of a larger problem: a bottleneck of trains that must stop and wait at the rail junction where Red, Purple and Brown Line tracks intersect.

If CTA tried to add more trains on the Red Line, this bottleneck would cause even longer delays and trains would continue to back up. Because of this intersection alone, CTA can no longer add more trains during rush periods when they are desperately needed. If the bottleneck isn’t corrected now, the CTA won’t be able to meet ridership demands. Trains will become more crowded and more cars will clog our streets.

Building the Bypass will unclog traffic at this intersection, allowing CTA to add up to eight more Red Line trains and ultimately serve 7,200 more riders per hour. The Red-Purple Bypass is critically important to CTA as we modernize our rail system for the next 60 to 80 years.

Has the CTA fully explored other alternatives to the Bypass to add capacity to the system?

Yes, our engineers have examined many alternative options, but none are adequate solutions. Here’s why:

Alternative Considered Reasons for Concern
Build a tunnel Construction of a tunnel would require a massive open pit in the center of Lakeview to accommodate equipment and materials. The building displacements and neighborhood disruption of tunnel construction would be far more severe than the Bypass.
Operate extra trains between Belmont and the Loop Running more trains only between Belmont and the Loop would require an extra turn-around track to be built north of Belmont Station. This would have nearly as many property acquisition impacts as the Bypass, and most importantly, would still not address the capacity increases needed along the entire length of the Red Line.
Lengthen the platform at Belmont station Some have suggested CTA lengthen the platform at Belmont station to allow CTA to operate 10-car trains instead of 8-car trains. Lengthening the platform at Belmont station alone would not allow 10-car trains to operate along the entire length of the Red Line. In order to run 10-car trains, ALL platforms at ALL Red Line stations would need to be lengthened – and that would still not address the bottleneck issue north of Belmont station where Brown, Red and Purple Line tracks intersect.
Signal Improvements CTA is currently designing an upgraded signal system for the RPM corridor as part of this project. However, without removing the bottleneck at this rail junction, only minimal improvements are possible (estimated that at most, one additional train per hour could be added, compared to the eight additional trains per hour the bypass alone would allow). The reason signaling alone is not a solution, is that by definition, two trains can’t be in the same spot at the same time. When the Brown Line crosses a Red Line track, no Red Lines can be on the section of track.

What will the Bypass look like?

Bypass_rendering_Summer_2020_Clark_StThe rail bypass bridge design meets CTA heavy rail structural needs and also takes into account community concerns about what the structure will look like. The design is a dramatic improvement to pedestrian experience under CTA's track structures – brighter, cleaner and more pleasant. Additional benefits include paving under the track structure, better drainage systems, noise walls on the tracks to reduce overhead noise and improved alley access for residents and loading zone needs. Community input will be sought on various infrastructure elements such as pavers, fencing, landscaping and street furniture.

How high will the Bypass be? Will it be the highest point on the CTA rail system?

The crest of the Bypass, between School Street and Clark Street, will be approximately 22 feet higher than the existing track (about 45 feet above ground level, or roughly the height of a four-story building). This height will be only at the crest, just long enough to clear the Red Line, and then it will slope back to the existing height of the Brown Line track structure. This will not be the highest point in the CTA rail system, nor will it be the highest structure in the neighborhood, as multiple nearby buildings are substantially taller.

Will the land on the west side of Wilton Avenue at Belmont be available for redevelopment?

Following construction of the Bypass project, the land east of the tracks along Wilton Avenue will be made available for redevelopment. The minimum lot depth following construction will be 40 feet, which is sufficient for various types of development.

Do CTA renderings of new buildings to be built depict viable options?

CTA developed a Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan for the project area to encourage redevelopment or plans for parcels remaining after construction. To provide context for the new construction, CTA developed conceptual renderings of what redevelopment might look like. These images included several different buildings, all of which are feasible based on the lot sizes available after construction of the new rail lines and that have been guided significantly by community input. CTA published the development plans, which can be found at transitchicago.com/rpm/todplan.

How will the project impact traffic with events at Wrigley Field?

Construction will have very minimal impact to the Addison Red Line station but will intermittently impact streets south of Wrigley Field, such as Clark and Sheffield at Roscoe. Impacts will be temporary, related to the placement of foundations and overhead beams. To the extent possible, necessary street closures would not take place on peak attendance game days.

How will the Vautravers building be impacted?

The Vautravers building, located at 947-949 W. Newport Avenue is part of the Newport Avenue District, a designated Chicago Landmark. This building stands directly in the path of the proposed alignment for the Red and Purple lines north of Belmont station. Rather than raze the building, CTA will relocate this building out of the path of the new alignment about 30 feet west of its current location to preserve the historic integrity of the Newport Avenue District.

How will CTA relocate the Vautravers building without damaging it?

Preservation and relocation of the historic Vautravers building is a priority for CTA, which has acquired the building and is now vacant. In order to construct the Red-Purple Bypass and make additional track structure improvements,the CTA proposes relocating the building from 947-949 W. Newport Avenue further west towards Clark Street.

CTA’s preliminary engineering for Phase One determined it appeared possible to move the building without compromising its structural integrity. The RPM project's contractor, Walsh-Fluor, is developing the plan to safely relocate the building in 2021. The CTA is coordinating closely with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (SCHP), State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), Historic Preservation Division of the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

How will CTA handle the empty lots caused by property acquisitions?

CTA, in coordination with the alderman’s office, the local community and the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, has prepared a Neighborhood Redevelopment Plan to encourage redevelopment or plans for parcels remaining after construction. Those plans were published and can be found at transitchicago.com/RPM/todplan.

What is the long-term plan for the space beneath the new elevated track sections?

Generally, the space directly beneath the new aerial tracks is kept open for future inspection and maintenance of the structure. CTA intends to make the spaces under the tracks more aesthetically pleasing, including lighting and streetscaping.

How can I receive updates and stay involved throughout the entire process?

Anyone can request to be added to the RPM contact list by sending an email to RPM@transitchicago.com. Sign up for project alerts here. Members of the contact list will receive upcoming meeting notices, as well as future updates about the RPM Program and Phase One projects. Information about the RPM Program is also available on the project website.

COVID-19

Why are you continuing to build this project during COVID-19 and the related decrease in rail ridership?

The Red Line has served as the backbone of the CTA for 100 years, and its rehabilitation and rebuilding is long overdue. RPM Phase One is rebuilding 100-year-old stations, track structures and a rail junction. The age of our rail system contributes to less reliable service and it will get worse if we do nothing. 

What we're building now will be around for the next 100 years to serve riders, including the thousands of essential workers who need reliable, efficient service every day, as well as future riders as transit ridership increases post-pandemic. While there may be some changes in commuting patterns, there is no question that a modern, efficient transit system is and will always be a key component of Chicago's transportation system: No other form of transportation moves more people, more effectively and more affordably than transit. We're building for beyond the current conditions faced today, because transit investments are always long-term in nature and meant to benefit the most people possible over a long period of time.

What are you doing to keep the community safe during construction?

During this challenging time, we are 100% committed to safety. All of our project workers are following all CDC safety guidelines, including daily temperature checks and mask wearing, to keep them and the community around the project site safe.

RPM Open for Business

How will construction impact local businesses?

During construction, CTA is committed to restricting construction parking, implementing dust control measures, and developing a construction outreach and coordination plan to assist local businesses and residences affected by construction. This includes the development of an Open for Business program that supports and promotes local businesses.

Will there be financial assistance for businesses that are affected by construction?

A modernized transit system is good for local businesses, bringing customers into storefronts and encouraging new development and investment in neighborhoods. CTA believes it is important to, at every step, work closely with businesses as we perform the actual work to modernize our rail structure. We will provide notification of all work ahead of time and make arrangements for business deliveries as needed.

We are currently developing an Open for Business program to promote local businesses during construction through signage, advertising, online and social media, etc. and we will strongly encourage all of our contractors to patronize local businesses. More information can be found here

The project funds CTA is utilizing to construct the RPM Phase One Project are not permitted to be used to provide financial support to private businesses. At this time, CTA is coordinating with third parties that can provide small businesses with consulting assistance during the construction period.

What is Open for Business?

A. There are hundreds of small businesses in the Red and Purple Modernization Project area and we are committed to supporting them throughout construction. The RPM Open for Business program aims to support small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and major attractions or entertainment venues impacted by CTA’s Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project by encouraging people to shop, eat, play, and explore within the impacted RPM project area. Promotions include social media, a dedicated web site coming soon, signage in the community and more. Learn more at transitchicago.com/RPM.

Is the Open for Business application period still open?

A. Yes, we will continue to register small businesses in the RPM project area throughout construction. If you own a small business or organization in Andersonville, Edgewater, Lakeview East or Uptown, learn about eligibility and apply here.

*Responses are current as of April 23, 2021

 

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How will construction impact local businesses?

During construction, CTA is committed to restricting construction parking, implementing dust control measures, and developing a construction outreach and coordination plan to assist local businesses and residences affected by construction. This includes the development of an Open for Business program that supports and promotes local businesses.

Will there be financial assistance for businesses that are affected by construction?

A modernized transit system is good for local businesses, bringing customers into storefronts and encouraging new development and investment in neighborhoods. CTA believes it is important to, at every step, work closely with businesses as we perform the actual work to modernize our rail structure. We will provide notification of all work ahead of time and make arrangements for business deliveries as needed.

We are currently developing an Open for Business program to promote local businesses during construction through signage, advertising, online and social media, etc. and we will strongly encourage all of our contractors to patronize local businesses. More information can be found here

The project funds CTA is utilizing to construct the RPM Phase One Project are not permitted to be used to provide financial support to private businesses. At this time, CTA is coordinating with third parties that can provide small businesses with consulting assistance during the construction period.