ROGERS PARK — As work continues on the rebuilding of the Red Line in Uptown and Edgewater, the CTA is now turning its attention to reconstructing the remainder of the transit line’s north branch.
The CTA is in the early stages of planning to rebuild the century-old Red Line stations and rail infrastructure not yet included in the massive Red-Purple Modernization Project.
That includes rebuilding the Sheridan stop and overhauling much of the Red Line infrastructure in Rogers Park, possibly including the Howard Street terminal, CTA officials said at a community meeting Tuesday.
CTA is also planning to overhaul the Purple Line branch that extends into Evanston and Wilmette, officials said.
Work is underway to rebuild the Red Line between the Lawrence and Bryn Mawr stops. The project includes new tracks, support infrastructure and stations, which will be fully accessible and have modern amenities.
Work on that portion of the Red-Purple project is slated to wrap in 2025, officials have said. The Belmont Overpass, built as part of the project in an effort to reduce Red and Brown line bottlenecks, was completed in 2021. A new Wilson station in Uptown was completed in 2017.
While the Lawrence to Bryn Mawr work progresses, CTA officials have launched the Red-Purple Modernization “next phases planning study.” The study begins the planning work to determine the scope of the Red Line rebuild between the Addison and Sheridan stops and Thorndale to Howard stops.
A survey collecting rider input on what improvements are needed is live and available through March 27. To access the survey, click here.
“Hearing from neighbors was so helpful and informative to creating the new Red Line stations and track structures we’re now building,” CTA spokesperson Tammy Chase said. “We’re eager to collaborate with residents and business owners in other Red and Purple Line communities to make CTA accessible and modern for all.”
Many of the stops slated for a rebuild, including Sheridan, are not wheelchair accessible and have narrow platforms that are not shielded from the weather conditions.
Those issues will get addressed during improvements, but the redesign could be tricky in some locations, CTA officials said.
The Sheridan station, near the corner of Sheridan and Irving Park roads, is sandwiched between buildings. Its current footprint is too small for fully accessible features.
The station needs to be fully reconstructed to make it accessible, but engineers and architects will have to get creative if they are to work within the existing station footprint, said Christina Bader, project manager at CTA.
The Red Line tracks follow an S-curve just north of Sheridan, a feature that slows down service. Straightening it out will be a challenge as CTA only owns the land within the existing rail infrastructure, Bader said.
“There’s both old and new development that makes streaming the curve challenging,” Bader said at a community meeting Tuesday. “We’re looking at all options here, which include station location.”
The Howard station and adjacent terminal are unique in the CTA system in that three rail lines terminate at the hub, officials said. Improvements to that infrastructure would streamline service. But the Howard station is sandwiched between multiple historically protected buildings, limiting the ability to physically expand the station, officials said.
“Managing this is a challenge,” Bader said of the Red, Purple and Yellow lines using the Howard terminal. “We’re currently analyzing what options exist to streamline operations while balancing a limited footprint to fit the neighborhood context.”
Construction on the Sheridan and Rogers Park portions of the Red Line won’t take place until “several years out” from the completion of the current construction phase, set to wrap in 2025, Bader said.
The project will also need to secure funding before such work can begin. The study phase of the project is expected to last through 2023, according to CTA. More community meetings will be held on the project.
Like the current phase of the Red Line rebuild, service will continue during the work.
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