Mayor Rahm Emanuel, U. S. Sen. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky were joined by Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool, Loyola University Chicago President Rev. Michael Garanzini, S.J., Ald. Joe Moore and other officials and community members to officially unveil the renovated CTA Loyola Red Line station.
The collaborative $17 million project included station and track infrastructure upgrades, a reconfigured pedestrian crossing and a new open-air community plaza adjacent to the station, creating a safer, more inviting environment for commuters and pedestrians. All projects were completed in time for the start of the 2013-2014 school year.
Durbin, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, secured $10 million in federal funding for the Loyola station and infrastructure project in the fiscal year 2010 Transportation and Housing Appropriations Bill, and $1 million in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA-LU). The $10 million in funding allowed CTA to make upgrades and repairs to the stationhouse and adjacent infrastructure. The remaining project costs reflect the construction of the adjacent plaza space, which was separately funded and overseen by Loyola University.
“This project was made possible through a public-private partnership involving the Federal Transit Administration, the CTA, Loyola University and the local community in order to make desperately needed improvements to this station,” Sen. Durbin said. “Thousands of students and commuters use this station every day. These improvements ensure their safety and make certain that the station is able to continue serving the transportation needs of this community.”
"It is so important to maintain and improve the transportation that our community and commuters rely on every day," said Rep. Schakowsky. "I applaud Senator Durbin for securing $10 million in funding which allowed the CTA to make important upgrades and repairs to this station and to the viaduct over Sheridan Road."
“Modernizing our transit system is an investment in Chicago’s future and will contribute to growing what is already one of the best-educated workforces in the world,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Linking Loyola and other top-rated Chicago universities with world-class transit is critical to continuing to attract the best and brightest to Chicago.”
The CTA and Loyola University Chicago coordinated planning and scheduling construction of the two projects, both of which began in August 2012.
“CTA rail stations are often described as gateways to the communities in which they sit,” said CTA President Forrest Claypool. “The CTA Loyola station is a critical part of Loyola students’ and employees’ daily lives, and we’re pleased to be able to provide an improved commuter experience for them and for residents and businesses around Loyola. I’d like to thank Sen. Durbin, Rep. Schakowsky, Mayor Emanuel and Gov. Quinn for their assistance in obtaining funding for the many Red Line projects we have under way for the good of our customers.”
The project repaired existing infrastructure, upgraded the existing station and redirected pedestrian traffic away from the mid-block Sheridan Road crossing in front of the station for improved safety. The main entrance was relocated slightly north, along the embankment, to allow for a new pedestrian plaza and a more inviting path in and out of the station, with better visibility.
CTA customers using the upgraded Loyola station will now experience a refurbished ground-level station house with safer, more convenient access from the new plaza north of the station, as well as from Loyola Avenue on the west side of the station. The CTA also made critical repairs to the viaduct over Sheridan Road, providing concrete repairs, waterproofing, a new drainage system, painting/coating, track repairs along the viaduct and brighter lighting.
Other station improvements and added amenities include: new windows, flooring, lighting and interior finishes for a brighter, safer environment; additional bike parking; and installation of a new auxiliary entrance and turnstiles on the southwest side of the station, which was previously exit-only, to provide additional convenient access to the main stationhouse.
Loyola invested an unprecedented $6.9 million in real estate acquisition, tenant relocations, and streetscape improvements because the university believes the improvements are in the best interest of the broader Rogers Park community,
"The Loyola CTA Station is the front door to Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus and one of the busiest commuter stations on the north side," said Father Garanzini. "The important structural and safety renovations made to the station were critical to ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone who passes through it each day, and we are delighted with the end result.”
The Loyola station work 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 Rahm 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. In 2012, the Loyola Red Line station had more than 1.8 million station entries.