The Chicago Transit Authority’s renovation of the north side Red and Purple L continues with the release of design drawings for four stations.
The reconstruction of the Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr stations is part of the larger “RPM” project, which involves replacing six miles of century-old track and the stations along it, plus the new train flyover between Belmont and Cornelia to finally unclog that time sink of a junction. The price tag is roughly $2.1 billion.
Replacing the stations is long overdue. Lawrence is the youngest of the bunch, at 98 years old. Argyle and Bryn Mawr are they oldest. They were built the same year as the first Model T Ford.
The CTA describes the new station designs as “modern, larger, and fully accessible.” We’re all for accessibility. After all, everyone single one of us will be disabled eventually. But the designs seem to tip the scale somewhere between “safe” and “boring.” They’re the sorts of things that get gussied up five years later with a bunch of expensive public art once people realize that a rendering is not the same thing as reality, especially once a couple of million people have tromped through it.
Construction is expected to start in a couple of months, and wrap up in 2024.