The next time you travel to the south side, there’s a shiny new subway station waiting for you.
It’s actually more than that. The CTA’s 95th Street Terminal is more of an intermodal station, like the one in the West Loop, because it handles travelers using the CTA Red Line, more than a dozen CTA bus routes, as well as commercial long-distance bus lines.
On an average day the number of people who use the station is the same as the entire population of north suburban Libertyville. To handle all of those people there are now two station houses linked by a pedestrian bridge.
The south station house opened last year. The ribbon was cut on the new north station house just a few days ago. The mayor’s office describes it as “substantially complete,” which is why there’s an asterisk in the title of this article. When fully complete, the price tag is expected to be in the neighborhood of $280 million.
$1.3 million of that money went to art by local startist Theaster Gates, including a pair of tapestries made from old fire hoses. Even more interesting is the DJ booth in the north building where jocks will play music and make announcements over the PA system. It’s a radio station in a train station.
The 95th Street Terminal is an essential part of living in the southern half of Chicago, since that’s where the city’s subway infrastructure has abruptly ended for half a century. The “rapid” falls off “rapid transit” from there on south.
Although we are frequently critical of the city’s transit inequity problem, Chicago can be proud that it has two 24-hour subway lines; something few cities can boast. And if you’ve ever had to pay €100 to a Parisian taxi driver because a show ran late, or seen dozens of people sleeping in a Tokyo subway station because they missed the last train of the night, you know how important Chicago’s overnight Blue and Red line service can be.