Mayor Emanuel offers first look at planned Wilson CTA station

11th Oct 2012
Mayor Emanuel offers first look at planned Wilson CTA station

Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled the design renderings for the planned reconstruction of the Wilson Red Line station, one of the largest CTA ‘L’ station projects in the agency’s history. The $203 million reconstruction project, slated to begin in 2013, will create not only a brand-new, reconfigured station to serve the CTA’s busiest rail line, but also a facility that will serve as an anchor for economic development in the Uptown neighborhood.

“This is a great starting point for the future design of an important station that helps thousands of Chicagoans get to work and school each day,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The Red Line is the backbone of our transportation network and this new station will drive economic activity throughout the city for years to come.”

The new station design features contemporary architecture including glass and steel canopies and a striking, glass-enclosed entrance along Wilson, one of two Wilson entrances. An auxiliary entrance is planned for Sunnyside Avenue, serving a newer commercial development housing Target and Aldi stores.

The project also includes significant track and signal system improvements near the station, as well as structural and viaduct work.

The Wilson Reconstruction project is part of CTA’s Red Ahead program, a $1 billion comprehensive initiative to maintain, modernize and expand the Red Line – Chicago’s most-traveled rail line. Collectively, these projects are part of Mayor Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago program, which is updating infrastructure that’s critical to the city – and includes improvements that will help ensure that CTA continues to serve customers as effectively as possible.


State funding supports much of the $1 billion Red Ahead investment. “This $646 million investment by the State of Illinois will repair and modernize the CTA Red and Purple lines, create 2,700 jobs and strengthen our transportation network for the 21st century,” said Governor Pat Quinn. “These station renovations will revitalize our public transportation system like never before and improve the quality of life for everyone who uses it.”

The new Wilson station will replace the badly deteriorated station that was built in 1923, and will result in a completely rebuilt, modern and accessible transfer station between the Red and Purple lines—the only transfer station on the Red Line between the Howard and Belmont stations. “Making Wilson a transfer station will provide much greater flexibility and convenience for both Red and Purple Line riders, and will help CTA operate more efficiently,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “It will also help speed travel and improve access for people with disabilities.”

The current scope of work will include restoration of the terra cotta exterior from the historic 1923 Gerber Building at the corner of Wilson and Broadway; a rebuilt stationhouse with elevators and other modern amenities; and new transfer platforms.

The reconstruction will also improve the appearance and pedestrian environment on Broadway and Wilson by removing some ‘L’ structure support columns from both the street and sidewalk.

Demolition work is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2013 with construction continuing through 2015.

To assist in honing the station’s design and amenities, the CTA is seeking public feedback on the project.  Customers, residents and community members are invited to learn more about the project and provide input at an open house meeting from 6-8 p.m. Thursday, October 11, at Harry S. Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.

The Wilson station will remain open throughout the construction project. However, as with any major construction project, changes in service can be expected. CTA will make every effort to minimize impacts to customers, including scheduling work that will impact service to overnight or weekends only.

Most of the project funding ($170 million) comes from the Illinois Jobs Now! program, with additional funding provided by the Federal Transit Administration and tax-increment financing. “I would like to thank Senator Durbin, Representative Schakowsky and the rest of the members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation who have consistently supported federal funding for transit,” Claypool said.


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