Construction of the new Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Green Line station at Damen Avenue and Lake Street officially began with a groundbreaking ceremony on May 3. The new station will serve a neighborhood that the city says has seen "notable residential and commercial growth in recent years."
The $60-million station will be fully ADA-accessible and will serve the Kinzie Industrial Corridor, the United Center and surrounding residential area on the Near West Side, including the Chicago Housing Authority’s Villages of Westhaven complex. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is constructing the station, which should be completed in 2021.
“CDOT is excited to be getting started on the foundation work for the new station,” said CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld. “This new state-of-the art, multi-modal station features a modern, light-filled design. The station’s location will allow users to seamlessly connect with CTA buses or to use bike share or walk to nearby destinations. And it will support local neighborhood growth and job creation while providing the capacity to serve large crowds attending events at the United Center.”
The city explains that a major element in the construction of new CTA stations is the inclusion of artwork that is inspiring and thought-provoking for both transit employees and members of the surrounding community. For the Damen and Lake station, the city’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) selected Folayemi (Fo) Wilson, a Chicago artist from blkHaUS studios, to create murals for the station. Wilson is working on a series of two-dimensional collages that will focus on three aspects of the West Side’s rich history: ethnic migration and cultural representation; architectural style and development; and industry and business.
The city says the station was designed with materials and elements to create an intuitive user experience, but to also create a low-maintenance, long-lasting transit facility. A grand stair and escalator, clearly visible through the station’s transparent glass façade, will guide arriving passengers up to the platform level. A glass bridge will facilitate connections between inbound and outbound train platforms while simultaneously celebrating the breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline and orienting visitors to the neighborhood destinations and attractions. The visible structure of the bridge provides a dynamic reference to Chicago’s iconic steel bridges and creates a memorable icon for the station.
“This new station will be a community anchor, serve those who live and work in the neighborhood and will become a gateway to further usher in economic growth for the Near West Side," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
“Investment in new and improved CTA stations has paid great dividends for communities across the City, and that will be especially true here at Damen,” CTA President Dorval Carter said. “This new station will provide a new, convenient and affordable transportation option to this community to make it easier for people to get to and from work, school and their other destinations. And like other new stations we’ve recently opened, such as Wilson and 95th Street, this new station will make a significant and lasting architectural statement and become a new community landmark.”
More than one-third of the CTA's stations have been rebuilt or received major renovations since 2011. The new Green Line Damen Station builds on those investments and represents the fourth new or started CTA station since 2011.