The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Board approved a $2-million plan to rehabilitate and improve the accessibility of the Blue Line's Illinois Medical District station by making all three station entrances accessible to customers with disabilities and additional upgrades, using $23 million of city tax-increment financing funds made available through Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "Chicago Neighborhoods Now" program.
Constructed in 1958, the station is the closest CTA rail stop for the Illinois Medical District (IMD), which is home to four major hospital systems – the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, the John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Rush University Medical Center and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center.
During the past five years, ridership at the IMD Blue Line station has increased by 53 percent, to nearly 1.1 million station entries last year, making IMD the third-busiest station on the Blue Line’s West Side Forest Park branch.
“We are pleased to begin much-needed improvements to the IMD Blue Line station, which is a critical transit hub for thousands of patients, employees and students who visit the state’s premier medical, education and technology center each day,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool.
The project will make improvements to all three entrances of the IMD station. These include rebuilding the main stationhouse on Ogden Avenue to make it accessible to customers with disabilities, by adding an elevator and new stairs. The project also includes the reconstruction of two station-to-platform ramps at auxiliary entrances at Damen Avenue and Paulina Street to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.
Additionally, the project includes improving station and platform lighting; installing additional security cameras and CTA Bus and Train Tracker displays and making repairs to the station platform canopy. The two auxiliary entrances, at Damen and Paulina, will also be refurbished with new flooring, wall/ceiling finishes, fare-payment equipment and customer assistant kiosks.