Beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, March 3, the Kimball and Francisco stations on the Brown Line will temporarily close until Monday at 2 a.m. This is the second of four scheduled temporary weekend closures while construction to expand capacity and make stations accessible continues to move forward. Kimball and Francisco will temporarily close again the weekend of March 10 and March 17. After this weekend's closures, both Kimball and Francisco stations will resume normal weekday service Monday morning, March 6.
On February 20, both the Kedzie and Rockwell stations closed for reconstruction and will remain closed for up to six months.
During the temporary weekend closures at Kimball and Francisco, Brown Line trains will operate between the Loop and Western station. CTA is providing a free bus shuttle for customers as a substitute for rail service. The bus shuttle will make stops at the Western station, Rockwell and Lawrence, Sacramento and Lawrence, Kedzie and Lawrence, Kedzie and Wilson, and at the Kimball station.
The weekend closures allow crews at Rockwell and Kedzie to demolish the old stations and foundation, and install the new foundations at Kedzie and Rockwell. This work can only be done when trains are not running on live track.
Approximately 2,000 customers enter the Kimball station on Saturday and 1,200 on Sunday. At Francisco, 485 enter on Saturday and 300 on Sunday.
In addition to the weekend shuttle service, customers in close proximity to the Kimball and Francisco stations are also served by the following seven CTA bus routes: #11 Lincoln, #49 Western, #49B North Western, #78 Montrose, #81 Lawrence, #82 Kimball/Homan and #93 California/Dodge (no Sunday service).
Kimball and Francisco will close again for the weekends of March 10-12 and March 17-19. A total of 10 weekend closures are needed for construction work at stations included in this part of the project.
Throughout the Brown Line construction project, slow zones and single track operation are periodically necessary near construction activity so, as a general rule, rail customers should allow extra travel time. Information on known service impacts will be provided through Customer Alerts in rail stations, on CTA buses and trains, provided to media through press releases and posted on CTA's Brown Line web site at ctabrownline.com, as well as CTA's web site at transitchicago.com.
In recent years CTA has added service and extended hours on the Brown Line in an effort to meet demand, however, capacity is still not sufficient to meet the needs of customers along the line. During rush hours customers often cannot squeeze into a crowded train and must wait, sometimes for several trains.
As a solution, platforms will be lengthened to accommodate eight-car trains instead of the six-car trains currently in use, which will allow many more customers to board. In addition, stations will be made accessible to customers with disabilities by installing ramps or elevators and accessible turnstiles. The stations themselves will be rebuilt, with wider stairways, additional turnstiles and improved entrances and exits to allow for a better flow of customer traffic.
As part of the planning process, CTA has worked and continues to work with local Aldermen and business owners along the line to minimize the impact to businesses near temporarily closed stations. CTA has placed advertising cards on the Brown Line and on local bus routes encouraging customers to continue to support these businesses throughout the temporary closures.
In total, 18 Brown Line stations from Kimball to Chicago Avenue are a part of this project. Of those 18 stations, 15 will close temporarily at different points during construction. Only stations within a half-mile or less of each other are scheduled for temporary closure. During the weekday, no two adjacent stations will be closed at the same time so customers may go to the next closest station for Brown Line service, or use nearby CTA bus routes. Temporary closures are necessary in order to have the type of access needed to extend platforms, make stations accessible, stay within budget and keep this project on schedule.
Operating between downtown and the Northwest Side, the Brown Line was originally constructed in two phases, opening for service in 1900 and 1907. The line is the third busiest of CTA's rail lines, serving more than 66,000 customers each weekday, with 19 stations from Kimball on the north to the Merchandise Mart.# # #