Seventeen years after its last renovation, the CTA’s Garfield Green Line station (320 East Garfield Boulevard) is getting another makeover. Starting now.
Ground was recently broken on what is called the Garfield Gateway project. We first reported on it in July of 2016, when $25 million federal tax dollars were allocated to transform the dilapidated transit hub into a modern commuter portal.
The city has come up with the remaining $25 million, and now work can proceed.
The Garfield station serves 425,000 passengers a year, according to the mayor’s office, which tweeted this rendering of the new station:
It’s a significant departure from the rendering presented to the public in 2016:
The clean and modern white and blue motif has been reverted to dark gray and beige. In the earlier image, the support structure is whitewashed, but in the later version, it’s back to the CTA’s usual color, known as Di Sierra in design circles.
In addition, the modern flat roof over the entire structure is gone, replaced by projecting fins, not unlike what is there already. It’s possible the flat roof — which, combined with the elevator towers, gave the station an almost prairie look — got “value engineered” into oblivion.
As part of the project, the landmark 1892 station house will be rehabbed. What it becomes is still up in the air, but it’s intended to be for public use — like a community center.
The restoration of the historic station house was designed by McGuire Igleski & Associates in Evanston. Reconstruction is being done by the Near West Side’s Walsh Construction, which details the project thusly:
The project will include restoration of the façade and terra cotta exterior of the old stationhouse. The station will also receive a LED lighting, fresh paint, a new escalator on the southbound side and new mid-platform exit stairs, as well as a dedicated bus drop off area, new bus shelters, new bike racks, and a new bike lane on Garfield Boulevard.
The Garfield station was originally known as 55th Street Station when it was erected for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1892. According to that most excellent time-sink, Chicago-L, the station didn’t take its current name until the 1950’s.
The CTA has been transforming a number of its stations across the city in recent years. The new Green/Pink Morgan station and the new Green Cermak stations are transforming their neighborhoods. We’ll see if this latest project does the same for Washington Park.