Chicago transportation leaders celebrated the groundbreaking for a new Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) station serving the Green Line at Damen Avenue and Lake Street last week.
The new $60 million Damen station is being built by Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) and will be the fourth Chicago CTA station to have been added or started since 2011, CTA stated.
The new station will be fully ADA-accessible and will serve the Kinzie Industrial Corridor, the United Center and the local residential area on the Near West Side, including the Chicago Housing Authority’s Villages of Westhaven complex.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the heads of the CDOT were in attendance at the ceremony, according to a CTA statement. During the event, Emanuel announced that art for the station is set to be created by Folayemi Wilson, a Chicago artist from blkHaUS studios.
“Today’s groundbreaking marks another major milestone for the CTA, which brings new jobs and opportunities for Chicago’s residents” Emanuel said. “This new station will be a community anchor, serve those who live and work in the neighborhood and will become a gateway to further usher in economic growth for the Near West Side.”
A major element in the construction of new CTA stations is the inclusion of artwork that is “inspiring and thought-provoking for both transit employees and members of the surrounding community,” CTA said.
Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) has chosen Wilson to create murals for the station. Wilson is working on a series of two-dimensional collages that will focus on three aspects of the West Side’s rich history: ethnic migration and cultural representation, architectural style and development, and industry and business.
The work launched last is expected to establish the foundation of the new station. Construction on the new station house is expected to kick off in late 2019 and be completed in 2021.
“CDOT is excited to be getting started on the foundation work for the new station,” said Rebekah Scheinfeld, CDOT’s commissioner. “This new state-of-the art, multi-modal station features a modern, light-filled design. The station’s location will allow users to seamlessly connect with CTA buses, or to use bike share or walk to nearby destinations. And it will support local neighborhood growth and job creation while providing the capacity to serve large crowds attending events at the United Center.”
CTA President Dorval Carter noted the investment in new and improved CTA stations has benefitted communities throughout the city.
“This new station will provide a new, convenient and affordable transportation option to this community to make it easier for people to get to and from work, school and their other destinations,” Carter said. “Like other new stations we’ve recently opened, such as Wilson and 95th Street, this new station will make a significant and lasting architectural statement and become a new community landmark.”
Emanuel had previously released architectural renderings for the new station designed by Perkins Will, a Chicago-based global architecture and design firm known for innovative transit station projects from British Columbia to Chongqing City, China. This is the first Perkins Will transit project in Chicago.
Station materials and design elements were selected with the goal of improving and creating an intuitive user experience at the facility, CTA said. A grand stair and escalator, clearly visible through the station’s transparent glass façade, will guide arriving passengers up to the platform level.
A glass bridge will also facilitate connections between inbound and outbound train platforms while displaying views of the Chicago skyline, as well.
“The visible structure of the bridge provides a dynamic reference to Chicago’s iconic steel bridges and creates a memorable icon for the station,” CTA said.