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Loyola Station Renovations Begin

Loyola Stop Renovations

Sidewalk Closing in Front of Loyola Station. Photo By: Roberta Anglin

The Chicago Transit Authority started construction at the Loyola Red Line station on Sept. 12 as part of its bigger Red Ahead project. CTA is now in the process of renovating the stop on Sheridan Road and began concrete repairs to the viaduct, which resulted in a reduction of lanes and the closing of the east sidewalk under the viaduct. By mid-2013 the Loyola station and viaduct is expected to be completed and ready for use.

What Will Happen

According to CTA spokeswoman Catherine Hosinski, the project will stabilize the infrastructure resulting in an upgraded station with better lighting, entrance way, additional turnstiles and bike parking and a waterproofing of the area.

“We’re anticipating that by early 2013 when all this work’s complete we’ll have approximately 7,000 track feet of slow zones removed,” Hosinski said. “That should reduce travel times along the north branch of the Red Line by two to three minutes.”

According to the CTA website, this project will renovate the viaduct and replace the tracks. This means that sometimes the trains will have to bypass the station in one direction. On Sept. 28 northbound trains did not stop at the Loyola station for the entire weekend.

“The station will remain open during the construction work and as with any major project such as this, we try to limit any work that will affect service…to late nights or over weekends,” said Hosinski.

Loyola’s stop is unique because Loyola University is working with CTA so that the organization can build a new plaza next to the station.

Reasons for the Construction

According to Loyola junior Samantha Michaels, 20, the construction has been loud. Michaels says some of the newer stations are starting to look good.

“The train system itself is pretty old and they’re constructing a bunch of stations, so I think in the end it’s gonna look better, we just have to get through it,” she said.

Many of the CTA stations along the North branch of the Red Line are among the oldest in the system. Most of those stations were constructed in the early 1900s, and Loyola’s station was constructed in 1980.

Hosinski said that those stations have had only patchwork repairs and they are finally getting the maintenance that they need.

The Red Line renovations are part of the CTA’s Red Ahead program. According to the CTA website, The Red Ahead program will maintain, modernize and expand Chicago’s most-traveled train line.

Some of the already renovated Red Line stations include Grand and State, North and Clybourn, and Cermak-Chinatown.

Red Ahead Projects

The Red Ahead program includes three major improvement projects. The renovations at Loyola’s station is part of the Red and Purple Modernization project.

According to the CTA website, “Improvements made along this area would help bring the existing transit line into a state of good repair, reduce travel times, improve access to job markets and destinations, and provide improved access to people with disabilities.”

Some students say the construction has affected their wait time.

“It does kind of suck though because when I do wait for the train sometimes it takes a long time, and I’m pretty sure it’s due to the construction,” Michaels said.

Hosinski explained that CTA is alerting passengers in many different ways about any route changes or other changes in travel.

If any major changes are happening at a station or if there are lane closures on the roads outside of the stations, CTA will hand out fliers and post notifications at the station a week to two weeks in advance. There are also website notifications and bus and train tracker alerts that customers can subscribe to.

Denise Wesley, a 29-year-old South Side resident said that while she has not been personally affected by the Loyola stop construction, she knows it will affect the neighborhood because it’s a lengthy process.

“Usually when they make a change it’s good, it’s just like it usually takes so long,” Wesley said.

In general, CTA is renovating many different stations and tracks, and one of their goals is to address and fix more slow zones. This is part of a Slow Zone Elimination project.

Also in 2013, the Slow Zone Elimination project will begin on the Dan Ryan track, which is the south end of the Red Line.

David Ingram, a 60-year-old Rogers Park resident is happy that there are renovations.

“Upgrading the ‘L’ stop would be a good thing,” Ingram said. “I hope that it’ll make it a more secure place for students.”

CTA does have safety in mind at the Loyola station. It’s planning to redirect pedestrian walkways away from crossing in the middle of Sheridan Road.

According to Hosinski, the renovations will make traveling a more pleasant experience for riders, and the station will be brighter and safer.

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.