Officials gathered to celebrate the opening of the renovated Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Loyola Red Line station November 8. The collaborative $17-million project included station and track infrastructure upgrades, a reconfigured pedestrian crossing and a new open-air community plaza adjacent to the station.
All projects were completed in time for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.
U. S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured $10 million in federal funding for the Loyola station and infrastructure project in the fiscal year 2010 Transportation and Housing Appropriations Bill and $1 million in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act. The $10 million in funding allowed CTA to make upgrades and repairs to the stationhouse and adjacent infrastructure. The remaining project costs reflect the construction of the adjacent plaza space, which was separately funded and overseen by Loyola University.
“This project was made possible through a public-private partnership involving the Federal Transit Administration, the CTA, Loyola University and the local community in order to make desperately needed improvements to this station,” Sen. Durbin said. “Thousands of students and commuters use this station every day. These improvements ensure their safety and make certain that the station is able to continue serving the transportation needs of this community.”
The CTA and Loyola University Chicago coordinated planning and scheduling construction of the two projects, both of which began in August 2012.
“CTA rail stations are often described as gateways to the communities in which they sit,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “The CTA Loyola station is a critical part of Loyola students’ and employees’ daily lives and we’re pleased to be able to provide an improved commuter experience for them and for residents and businesses around Loyola.”
The project repaired existing infrastructure, upgraded the existing station and redirected pedestrian traffic away from the mid-block Sheridan Road crossing in front of the station for improved safety. The main entrance was relocated slightly north, along the embankment, to allow for a new pedestrian plaza and a more inviting path in and out of the station, with better visibility.
CTA customers using the upgraded Loyola station will now experience a refurbished ground-level station house with safer, more convenient access from the new plaza north of the station, as well as from Loyola Avenue on the west side of the station. The CTA also made critical repairs to the viaduct over Sheridan Road, providing concrete repairs, waterproofing, a new drainage system, painting/coating, track repairs along the viaduct and brighter lighting.
Other station improvements and added amenities include new windows, flooring, lighting and interior finishes; additional bike parking and installation of a new auxiliary entrance and turnstiles on the southwest side of the station, which was previously exit-only, to provide additional convenient access to the main stationhouse.
Loyola invested $6.9 million in real estate acquisition, tenant relocations and streetscape improvements.
The Loyola station work is part of CTA’s Red Ahead program, a $1 billion initiative to maintain, modernize and expand the Red Line. Collectively, these projects are part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago program, which is updating infrastructure that’s critical to the city and includes improvements that will help ensure that CTA continues to serve customers as effectively as possible.