Posts tagged with "chicago transit authority":

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Chicago Transit Authority races to beat Trump inauguration to secure funding

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is anxious to receive a $1.1-billion federal grant before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. Officials believe that the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Core Capacity grant could be awarded under either administration, but would rather not take the chance with a DOT under new leadership. The federal grant would be used to help rebuild the north branch of the Red and Purple Line L tracks. A major part of securing that grant is to have a source of funding in place to help cover the difference between the awarded money and the needed money. The city plans to use a tax-increment financing district (TIF) to raise another $800 million over the next three decades. Some see Trump’s pick to lead the transportation transition team as a sign that public transportation money may be harder to come by under his new administration. Trump’s pick, Martin Whitmer, is the chairman of a lobbying firm that represents the National Asphalt Paving Association and the Association of American Railroads. He was also the deputy chief of staff at U.S. DOT under President George W. Bush. He has also worked as a lobbyist for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association. (Elaine Chao is Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Transportation during his administration.) The CTA did point out that the reconstruction of the Brown Line in the mid-2000s was achieved under the Bush administration, with Whitmer working at the DOT. Public transportation advocates are still uneasy about the Whitmer’s connections to pro-highway and road associations. Chicago and the CTA presented evidence of additional funding, including the TIF district, for the project on November 30th. Which was also the date that the TIF district was legally allowed to take effect under the state’s legislation. If the current petition for funding is funding is approved, the decision would be made by January 15, just five days before Trump takes office.
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Chicago Transit Authority releases latest L station renderings

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has release the final design for the currently under construction 95th/Dan Ryan Red Line L station. The complete reconstruction of the final stop on the Red Line started 2014, and is expected to be fully completed in 2018.

The Red Line is the busiest route in the L system, running 24 hours a day, from the far North to the far South Side. The $280 million project part of a much larger initiative to update many of the L stations throughout the system. The original station was designed by SOM and built in 1969. The station is a terminal for the line, with its own small yard that is being updated for ease of train movement. An integrated bus terminal is also being rebuilt with the station. Being the busiest stop on the south branch of the Red Line, the CTA has referred to the new station as the “signature” station of the L system.

Earlier conceptual designs were released to the public in 2014 for a more subdued heavily glazed station. The new renderings show bolder forms and more extensive use of bright red. The design for the station has been led by Chicago-based Exp. The station will also include at least two major public artworks. The CTA is working with Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates on the public artworks as well as community outreach throughout the project. Exp is also responsible for the design for the much anticipated Washington/Wabash L station in Chicago’s downtown Loop. The Washington/Wabash station, expected to be complete later this year, features undulating white ribbed awnings over the platforms. Announced in 2012, the stop will look particularly different than the often inconspicuous L stations in the loop. The station is expected to be complete this year. Since 2012 CTA has also announced the remodeling of multiple other stations throughout the system. The latest include the Wilson Red Line station and the Garfield Green Line station. Work on the Garfield station has just received a $15 million TIGER Grant from the federal government. The station is also notable as it sits immediately next to the Theaster Gates initiated Arts Block, which will soon include a Johnston Marklee project.
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Chicago recycled an old rapid-transit station and sold its pieces at public auction

More than 800 people flocked to Chicago's premier recycled building materials clearing house, the Rebuilding Exchange, last week in search of a piece of Chicago history. The nonprofit was auctioning off chunks of the Chicago Transit Authority's (CTA) Madison-Wabash CTA El Station, which will be replaced next year. Buyers included an ice cream parlor, a theater company, an art studio, and various individuals intrigued by the defunct station's benches, signs, railing sections, pressed tin sheets, and vintage doors. “We did not auction off the facades—those are being stored here for up to two years until a history museum can take them,” said Caitlin Grey, outreach coordinator for the Rebuilding Exchange. “Almost everything sold the night of except for some screens, decking, joists and doors. Over the weekend almost everything else sold. We still have a door, decking and joists.” Chicago recycles as much as two-thirds of its construction and demolition debris, but other municipal recycling programs are lagging. As for what will become of the old station's downtown location, renderings show a clean white plane sheltered by rows of knife-like brise-soleils. The so-called “Gateway to Millennium Park” will replace both the Randolph-Wabash and Madison-Wabash stations, and is designed by Chicago-based expformerly known as Teng + Associates.
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This urban intervention in Chicago would let citizens control colorful lights under the “El” with their smartphones

Chicago is best known for Wrigley Field and the Sears Tower (yes, the Sears Tower), but one of its most prominent urban features is the elevated train tracks that form the “Loop,” or the downtown area bound by this snaking steel goliath. However poetic the idea of the “El” might be, it brute steel structure could, like most raised infrastructures, use some improvements. To draw attention to improving the El, the Chicago Loop Alliance has even outlined a plan called Transforming Wabash, which focuses on one heavily trafficked throughway underneath train tracks. The Wabash Lights is a site-specific installation that would convert a stretch of the tracks into a programmable light show with over 5,000 LED tubes. Urban instigators Jack C. Newell and Seth Unger need your help to Kickstart a pilot of the project, and, at the time of publication, they have less than a week to raise $13,000 to complete their crowdfunding campaign. The underside of the elevated train tracks above Wabash Avenue will be their test site for the lights, which the pair says embrace and celebrate the existing, rather than destroying the character of what is there. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jackcnewell/the-wabash-lights-the-beta-test From the Kickstarter campaign:

For most people visiting or living in Chicago, Wabash Avenue in the Loop is a dark, noisy, sometimes scary place to either avoid or walk quickly through. Positioned between the history of State Street and the futuristic playground of Millennium Park, Wabash Avenue is an underutilized resource in the city for art, culture, and business.

The design calls for 520 light tubes that are programmable every 1.2 inches, and Chicago residents can control the lights using a smartphone or computer. The project was initially entangled in a bit of a bureaucratic red tape, but it now has gained all of the approvals needed to move forward with a pilot outside of the Palmer House Hilton on Wabash Avenue. The duo has been working closely with the Chicago Transit Authority, the Chicago Department of Transportation, and the city government. To contribute to the project and see Chicago’s streets come to life, head on over to their Kickstarter page.
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Take a tour of Chicago’s newest Green Line stop, Cermak-McCormick Place, designed by Ross Barney Architects

Chicago commuters transiting through the South Loop and Chinatown have had a new stop since early this year, when the Chicago Transit Authority opened its newest train stop: Cermak-McCormick Place. Designed by Ross Barney Architects (the team behind West Loop's lauded Morgan stop for the Pink and Green Lines), the new station employs brawny steel trusses and sleek, curved surfaces. Via the architects, here's a gallery of images from the new station, shot by Kate Joyce Studios:
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Chicago’s Wilson CTA Station gets a $203 million makeover

Patrons of the Chicago Transit Authority's 91-year-old Wilson station (above) on the El's Red Line will be happy to learn the city broke ground this week on its long-planned, $203 million Wilson Station Reconstruction Project. The track structure is more than 100 years old. The Uptown station has been somewhat of a squeaky wheel in the CTA system, with neighborhood residents calling for improvements for years. The new station house will be ADA-compliant and, as CTA explained, feature myriad other improvements:
The project will also include significant track and structural work that will allow for easy and convenient transfers between the Red Line and Purple Line Express; enhance the street-level environment on Broadway; and improve CTA operations. New, brighter lighting and the installation of more than 100 security cameras throughout the stations and its three entrances will help improve customer safety. Additionally, the restoration of the 1923 stationhouse facade and former clock tower (at the corner of Wilson/Broadway) would make it a viable space for future retail or business development, thus creating an anchor for revitalization and economic development in the Uptown neighborhood.
It's one of the biggest (and costliest) overhauls in CTA history, and is part of the agency's $1 billion "Red Ahead" initiative to modernize the north branch of the Red and Purple Lines. CTA rebuilt the south branch last year, streamlining construction with massive closures—a strategy that angered some area residents. Elsewhere on the Red Line, 95th Street—the line's southern terminus—is getting an inspired revamp led by Parsons Brinkerhoff and Johnson & Lee, with art from Theaster Gates.
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Chicago Transit Authority’s Belmont Bypass would raze 16 parcels

As part of a plan to reorganize a busy elevated train station on Chicago’s North Side, the Chicago Transit Authority has released a list of buildings it needs to raze to ease delays for 150,000 riders daily. The mostly residential buildings, as well as 11 vacant lots, would be occupied by a train bypass CTA has proposed to help untangle the knot of Red, Purple, and Brown Line trains at the Clark junction just north of the Belmont ‘El’ station. Public hearings will be held to determine the future of the properties, which would receive “at minimum the fair market value” according to CTA protocol. The flyover bypass appears in renderings released in April as a tube circumventing the existing tracks—a $320 million project CTA said would alleviate delays for more than 40 percent of weekday trains.
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“Transit Future” Wish List Tantalizes Chicago Commuters with $20 Billion in Improvements

Here’s something to meditate on the next time you see three Chicago Transit Authority buses leapfrogging one another on a crowded street, or have to shell out for a cab because the trains won’t get you where you want to go on time: a grand proposal called "Transit Future" that seeks to improve the way Chicagoans get around the region. Imagine a South Lakefront line that connects the South Side to the Loop, running through the University of Chicago campus and South Shore. Or a “West Side Red Line” dubbed the Lime Line that would run along Cicero Avenue, connecting the Blue, Green, Pink and Orange Lines, before jogging East and connecting to the Red Line at 87th Street. Or how about a Brown Line extension connecting the North Side to O’Hare International Airport. Those are just some of the recommendations in the “Transit Future” plan unveiled last week by the Center for Neighborhood Technology and the Active Transportation Alliance, two longtime advocates of sustainable development and alternative transit in the Chicago region. The plans also include a bus rapid transit line along Ashland avenue—a work-in-progress that proponents say will energize commerce along the corridor, but detractors say will clog streets—and an extended Red Line that could relieve pressure on the overburdened 95th Street station, which is slated for renovation. Great, you’re thinking, but it will never happen. Transit Future’s backers say the $20 billion wish list could become a reality if Cook County Board officials “create a robust local revenue stream…[that] will open the door to federal and other financing tools that will pay for the rest.” They point out Los Angeles residents voted in 2008 to raise their county’s sales tax by one half-cent, authorizing $40 billion in new revenue for transit lines over 30 years. That measure passed with nearly 68 percent of the vote. Head over to Transit Future's sleek website to read more about the project. Or check out WBEZ's The Afternoon Shift show that discussed the proposal with CNT’s Jacky Grimshaw Wednesday:
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Unveiled> Chicago’s Newest Loop ‘L’ Stop Could Be Best Yet

Move over Morgan—the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) released renderings Monday of a redesign for the ‘L’ station at Washington-Wabash whose modern look could unseat the sleek Morgan as CTA’s most handsome stop. The so-called “Gateway to Millennium Park” will serve the Brown, Green, Orange, Pink and Purple lines by consolidating two Loop stations: Randolph-Wabash and Madison-Wabash. Replacing two century old stops, it will be the first new ‘L’ stop in the Loop since the Library/State-Van Buren station was built in 1997. Chicago-based exp, formerly known as Teng + Associates, designed the bone white, undulating station. The color and curvature call to mind Calatrava's Milwaukee Art Museum, or perhaps a ribcage. With 13,375 daily entries, it’s expected to become the fifth busiest CTA station on weekdays, according to city estimates. Scheduled to open in 2016, the station will feature 100 percent LED lighting, bike racks, and  “a significant amount” of recycled material. The reveal follows news of the planned McCormick-Cermak CTA station, designed by Chicago’s Ross Barney Architects (Ross Barney also designed the system’s newest stop, Morgan Station). Construction on the $75 million station is scheduled to begin in 2014. That money will come entirely from the Federal Highway Administration’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program.
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Cermak is Next: New CTA Stop Primes Chicago’s South Loop

The CTA is abuzz with new projects these days, having successfully avoided fare hikes during dire budget negotiations this summer. Now another $65 million investment will deliver the new Cermak / McCormick Place El Station Mayor Rahm Emanuel promised early this year, as well as new library, school and three-story building rehab for the South Loop. New renderings presented by the Mayor on Friday show the new Green Line stop, which will be designed by Carol Ross Barney, principal at Ross Barney Architects. It’s a sleek tunnel shape, reminiscent of Rem Koolhaas’ IIT Green Line stop. Coming from the same architect who designed CTA’s last major addition, the celebrated (if pricey) Morgan station, news on this improvement to El service was highly anticipated by residents in Motor Row and South Loop. The neighborhoods rode higher and fell further than most in the city over the past decades; now a resurgence of downtown residents may have primed the pump for a broader renaissance just south of the Loop. If it does, new CTA service should soon make it easier to check out.
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Crowd-Design: Transit Designer Wants Your Ideas, Not Just Your Money

Greater Good Studio wants to reinvent crowd-sourcing. Their budding campaign, Designing Chicago, aims to build the ultimate public transit app using public data from the Chicago Transit Authority. But the interesting part is where you come in. Not only is the project crowd-funded — it’s crowd-designed. “Since it is called public transit,” founder George Aye said in the team’s Kickstarter video, “it only made sense that we designed this application with the participation of the public.” The app’s features are still up for debate, but Greater Good said they hope to create a “new, truly user-centered tool.” Ideas in the Kickstarter video include automatic weather alerts, the ability to work backward from your calendar to suggest transit routes, and two-way communication with CTA to suggest system improvements. Aye worked at IDEO for 7 years before becoming lead designer for the CTA. The group also has the backing of Massimo Vignelli, designer of the NYC subway map, who is an advisory board member. They are anticipating an April 2013 launch date. Watch an interview with Vignelli here: