The Chicago Transit Authority is in the process of rebuilding the Red and Purple lines on the Far North Side. The tracks will include newly made community spaces in place of the soon-to-be knocked-down embankment walls, stretching from Lawrence to Ardmore Aves.
The CTA announced the $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project this past week with plans to demolish the longstanding embankment walls that support the Far North Side’s established Red Line.
The project will be led by contractor Walsh-Fluor who is in charge of this demolition project. The construction crews will instead open the area up, creating space for community use under the new tracks. The CTA is asking the local community to contribute viable ideas for the area intending to create community-centric options. They plan to hold community meetings on the topic later this year.
The agency plans on helping build the space and any involved programs and notes that lights will be installed for safety purposes. Any viable options, which so far include an open-air community space or extra parking, will still require the CTA to access the rails for maintenance and inspections.
As for when this ambiguous space will become accessible to the community, officials note the public area will open after the current branch of the Red-Purple line rebuilds is completed by 2025 as right now the crews are working on the stretch between northbound Lawrence and Bryn Mawr (Stage A) which plans to finish this stretch of the overarching project later this year. The big project is being completed in phases.
Then, work on creating accessible stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr (Stage B) will begin along with rebuilds on the southbound tracks. By this point, trains will hopefully start to run along the new northbound lines. The CTA will then move on to rebuilding the Sheridan station, tracks in Rogers Park, and the north Red and Purple tracks.