Hot on the heels of ripping up and replacing the southern portion of the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line subway, the city has unveiled drawings for a new station at the 95th Street extremity of the transit line.
The station has the unfortunate official name of “95th Street Red Lime Terminal.” The word “terminal” is the unfortunate part, since for decades people on the south side have been begging the city and the CTA to extend the line southward, past 95th Street.
Right now, the project to extend the Red Line down to 130th Street is still in the paperwork phase. Engineers are currently working on an Environmental Impact Statement.
The current station, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, opened in 1969 and today handles 20,000 passengers a day. “We have outgrown this space,” notes Terry Peterson, the chairman of the Chicago Transit Board. In June of 2012, the CTA announced the 95th Street station would be replaced, but this is the first time anyone’s seen drawings of what may come.
According to the CTA, more than 300,000 people live within walking distance of the 95th street station, and the city is hoping that the wider sidewalks, bus lanes, and bigger waiting areas will encourage more people to use the facility. In addition, the station will have retail space, and the city hopes it will spur economic growth in the immediate area.
CTA president Forrest Claypool notes that the new station, “looks nothing like what our customers see here today.” It is so large that it spans both the north and south side of 95th Street, with a skywalk linking the two halves. He wants construction to start by Spring, 2014.
Aesthetically, the station features lots of glass, tall ceilings, and sound-absorbing panels to make it more welcoming to passengers. It will also have an art installation by Theaster Gates, the South Side Chicago social artist who is a rising star on the global art scene.
The 95th Street Terminal is just one of several major station projects being undertaken by the CTA. The Wilson Yards project recently went out to bid, and over the summer plans were unveiled for the new Cermak Green Line Station, and what Mayor Rahm Emmanuel calls the “superstation” at Washington and Wabash in The Loop, serving the Brown, Purple, Green, Pink, and Orange lines.