As Chicago looks to the future as it reawakens from the yearlong COVID shutdown, it was good to see the city also look to the future by announcing plans to replace the 126-year-old State and Lake L station with a new, modern and accessible facility.
The planned $180 million project is certainly good news for the 3.7 million riders a year who use the aged station, which was built in 1895.
But it’s also the latest in a remarkable run of CTA infrastructure investments over the past decade — an advent that deserves more credit, particularly in a city that can be maddeningly slow when it comes to key civic upgrades. (We’re looking at you Mayor Lori Lightfoot and your glacial approach to replacing the city’s lead water service pipes.)
The announcement of the new station by the Chicago Transit Authority and the city’s Department of Transportation comes on the heels of the CTA breaking ground on upgrades at four North Side Red Line stations — Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr — as part of the $4.7 billion Red and Purple Modernization Project that began back in 2014.
In recent years, we’ve seen a slate of improvements, such as new stations at Morgan Street and at Cermak Road on the Green Line, and the new, airport-like $300 million Red Line terminus at 95th Street.
Preliminary renderings show the new downtown station would have a glass canopy, wider platforms and a quartet of passenger elevators.
“In addition to accessibility, this project also demonstrates our commitment to the full revival of the Loop — which is the economic engine and cultural hub of our great city,” Lightfoot said in announcing the plan.
And these are moves a great city must make to stay competitive and better link its population to jobs, cultural attractions and opportunities.
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