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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Overhaul Of 59th Street Metra Station Will Bring Back Long-Closed Entrance, Add Accessibility

Plans to install an elevator would make the station accessible, while the 60th Street entrance — closed for more than three decades — would be reopened.

The current entrance to the 59th Street station only offers stairs to commuters.
Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
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WOODLAWN — A “complete renovation” of Metra’s 59th Street station is in the design and planning phase, with construction expected to start in 2020.

An elevator to make the station ADA-compliant, new platforms and improved lighting and signage are among the planned improvements, according to Metra spokesperson Meg Reile.

The 59th Street station in its current layout is not accessible for those with disabilities. The nearest accessible stop is 55th-56th-57th Street.

The 60th Street entrance to the station, which was shuttered before Metra took over the old Illinois Central railroad in 1987, will also reopen when the renovation is complete.

Credit: Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
The crumbling entrance to the station at 60th Street, which closed before Metra took over the railroad in 1987.

The plans, first reported by Streetsblog Chicago, come eight years after the University of Chicago first agreed to commit $2.5 million to the project pending public funding.

“Now that Gov. Pritzker has authorized the Rebuild Illinois capital program, plans for station improvements like 60th Street can be funded and move forward,” Reile said.

The university’s 2011 agreement came long before the Obama Presidential Center was being considered for Jackson Park. But the timing of improvements along the Metra Electric line is perfect for a neighborhood primed for growth, Reile said.

The proposal “gives an entrance closer to the Obama Center, but also other developments going on in the neighborhood,” Reile said. “It will serve the neighbors as well.”

Credit: Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
The crumbling entrance to the station at 60th Street, which closed before Metra took over the railroad in 1987.

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