The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) a $35-million Core Capacity grant to lay the groundwork to improve service and capacity on a heavily-traveled segment of its aging North Red Line and Purple Line rail transit system.
The Core Capacity funds will allow the CTA to continue with the early stages of the planning for the first phase of RPM—a $1.7-billion initiative to expand train capacity and modernize the Red and Purple lines announced this spring. The first phase involves work in two important areas: rebuilding the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr stations to make them fully accessible, as well as replacing track and signaling systems and widening platform widths and creating a bypass north of the Belmont station to accommodate future ridership growth and alleviate a major service bottleneck. CTA said this section of the CTA rail system has experienced ridership growth of 40 percent in the past five years and will be unable to accommodate future generations of customers unless it invests in capacity expansion.
“The city of Chicago is focused on building a 21st century public transportation infrastructure to match our rapidly growing economy. Chicago’s future depends on our ability to improve our existing infrastructure to meet new demand and today is a strong step toward fulfilling that vision,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The Core Capacity Program allows its to plan improvements on the Red Line that will benefit riders for generations to come, while supporting and encouraging economic development.”
The funds will cover project development expenses, which include both preliminary design and engineering and environmental planning.
“Modernization of the Red Line is an investment in Chicago’s future, improving economic growth and benefiting a diverse group of residents in some of the densest neighborhoods in the country,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.”