Advance utility relocation work
Lawrence-Bryn Mawr Modernization
What is the RPM Program?
The CTA intends to rehabilitate and rebuild the Red and Purple lines from just north of Belmont station to Linden station.
Once fully realized, RPM Program could double passenger capacity and bring the rail lines into a state of good repair for the next 60 to 80 years. Improvements made along this area would help bring the existing transit line into a state of good repair, reduce travel times, improve access to job markets and destinations, and provide 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?
Simply put, the Red and Purple lines have reached the end of their useful lifespans. Most tracks and bridges are nearly 100 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 Continuing to operate two rail lines – one of which is the busiest rail line providing 24/7 service – on this outdated infrastructure results in the need for frequent repairs that disrupt service and slow travel, unusually high maintenance costs, and outdated stations that can’t accommodate modern amenities for all our customers.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. Weekday rush period ridership increased nearly 40 percent over a five-year period.
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, which together qualify for federal capacity expansion requirements and are necessary to meet future ridership demand:
- 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.
- 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 would include replacement of associated 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.
- 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.
What is an Environmental Assessment (EA)?
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) is a federal law that mandates the consideration of environmental impacts that may have significant impacts on the environment or where impacts have not yet been determined – before a project is approved to receive federal funding. The NEPA process provides a decision-making framework to consider the purpose and need for a proposed action, potential design solutions, project costs and relative benefits of the proposed action.
As part of the NEPA process, the CTA was required to conduct an Environmental Assessment (EA), which analyzes, in coordination with the public involvement process, the potential impacts a proposed could have on the community, natural environment and historic resources both during project work (i.e. temporary) and upon completion of work (i.e. long-term). It also provides recommended measures to mitigate these potential impacts.
The EA process included public input and comment throughout its duration. For RPM Phase One, there is one EA for the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization Project, and one EA for the Red-Purple Bypass Project. (See Documents.)
Based on a review of the EA and all public comments received, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for this project. The FONSI documentation includes responses to comments received as well as suggested mitigation measures to minimize the environmental impacts of the project, including impacts to historic resources.
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.
- Over 28,000 trips currently begin or end at the four stations being reconstructed.
- None of the stations in this segment of the North Red Line are accessible to people with disabilities or those with limited mobility. In fact, this is the largest stretch of the RPM corridor without wheelchair accessible rail facilities.
- The almost 80,000 trips that currently 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 would 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.
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 (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.
o 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, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations will need to close for reconstruction starting in 2021. CTA will provide temporary stations at Argyle and Bryn Mawr to provide rail access to customers once the existing stations close. Those temporary stations will serve passengers until the new stations are completed and open in 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.
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 not aware of any outside funding sources for local businesses during construction but we are actively exploring partnerships with third parties that can provide small businesses with consulting assistance during the construction period.
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 answered by 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 and is in the process of developing construction sequencing and schedules. CTA will share more information on the timeline as it is developed. 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.
2020 Advance utility relocation work is expected to be completed
2021 Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations close; temp stations at Argyle and Bryn Mawr open; start of new station and track reconstruction
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 trackwork 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. Pile driving is not expected on this project. 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 expected to begin Fall 2019 and major construction on the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr Modernization project will begin late 2020 or early 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 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. 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 would be open in the four station corridor during both stages of construction.
To reduce impacts, CTA would:
- Complement existing bus routes with bus shuttles, as necessary
- Notify customers of any changes in service
- Continue to perform engineering studies with the goal of reducing construction impacts
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 will be considered at these two stations.
Could CTA simply install an elevator to modernize the stations?
CTA has developed conceptual designs that would allow for installation of elevators in stations without widening right-of-way, but the designs would result in a station similar to the Granville and Loyola station configurations today, with long narrow walkways and tight clearances.
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.
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 grow to serve more riders. The delays 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:
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.
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?
The 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.
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.
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.
-- Updated October 2020
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