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02.17.2014
Terminal Velocity
Work set to begin soon on Chicago's 95th Street station revamp.
CTA's South Side Red Line terminus, 95th Street, is on track for major renovations.
Courtesy CTA

In 2014, one of the Chicago Transit Authority’s busiest stations will get an overhaul. As a point of transfer for riders on more than 1,000 CTA and Pace bus trips each day, Chicago’s 95th Street Terminal has suffered some wear and tear. New renderings show the “bright, airy spaces and clear sightlines,” and less congested bus-loading areas. The project is set for completion in 2016.

Wider sidewalks, larger waiting areas, sound-blocking acoustic panels, and additional escalators are among the features intended to lend breathing room to a cramped and busy station. The new station could even include retail for the 20,000 commuters who use the station on average every day.

   
 

The 95th Street/Dan Ryan Station is the southern terminal for 24-hour Red Line trains, and a major connection for city and suburban bus routes. Its 1969 design by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill only included 20 bus bays—insufficient for the dozens of CTA, Pace, Greyhound, and Indian Trails intercity buses that now frequent 95th Street. Renovations, led by Parsons Brinkerhoff with Johnson & Lee, will also add an elevator for handicap accessibility.

The city commissioned Chicago artist Theaster Gates for two artworks at the terminal, including an architectural feature integrated into the terminal building structure, and one for the terminal or one of its walkways.

 
 

Renderings show a sleek, minimalist station straddling 95th street with a skywalk. Lofty, gently arched ceilings are girded with a crosshatch of supporting beams whose geometry is echoed in the floor tiles. A trim of blue lights hints at architectural lighting that floods the roof of the structure, whose fins and attractive symmetry might be lost on passersby without many tall buildings nearby to gaze down from.

Funding will come from $20 million in federal grants and loans. Governor Pat Quinn and the state will provide $50 million from the Illinois Jobs Now program. The CTA will take $70 million of the federal capital dollars it gets each year, and $28 million will come from CTA bond proceeds.

Construction of the new terminal is set to begin in 2014, with Walsh Construction carrying out the work. The station will remain open during construction, which will create an estimated 650 temporary jobs.

The revamped terminal could potentially complement plans to build bus rapid transit along Ashland Avenue that would extend south to 95th Street.

Chris Bentley