CTA Red Line Project Could Change the Edgewater Skyline

The Chicago Transit Authority plans to start work next year rebuilding a mile of Red and Purple Line tracks on the north side between Lawrence and Bryn Mawr.  It’s the first phase of the agency’s “Red Ahead” rebuilding program on the north side.

Doing so will bring more space to the platforms, better access for the handicapped, and increased opportunities for local real estate development.

Rendering of new Bryn Mawr station (via CTA)

Rendering of new Bryn Mawr station (via CTA)

When the project is done, the CTA expects there to be leftover land adjacent to the L tracks, from businesses displaced by the project.  According to Edgeville Buzz, the CTA thinks this land would be perfect for high-density mid-rise development.  Especially with recent changes in the city’s Transit Oriented Development policies.

The idea is that more TOD means more people walking, which means more local businesses, which means more tax revenue for the city.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

The CTA plans to tear down its current buildings beneath and adjacent to the Red/Purple Lines.  In addition, the used car lot at 5657 North Broadway and new car dealership at 5625 North Broadway will bite the proverbial dust.  The CTA also plans to exercise air rights over several properties, which will be interesting for the people in that strip mall at 4837 North Broadway.

Rendering of new Bryn Mawr station (via CTA)

Rendering of new Bryn Mawr station (via CTA)

You may ask yourself if CTA construction on these stations seems familiar.  The answer is yes.  In the last five years or so the CTA has done a number of renovations in this area.  But this is something on a different scale.  According to the ‘A:

While CTA has made some improvements to these stations in recent years, the main support structures for all four stations were built in the early 1900s. All have very narrow station platforms that prevent CTA from adding critical upgrades like elevators. These stations will be completely torn down and rebuilt from the ground up.

But don’t start thinking about moving into the sunny Edgewater neighborhood just yet.  Construction on the tracks isn’t scheduled to start until 2019, with completion estimated to be in the “mid-2020’s.”  So Edgewater is going to have to wait another decade for this economic shot in the arm.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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