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CTA to close seven North Side Red Line stops for repairs

Red Line station closures

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Updated: May 30, 2012 8:18AM

Seven century-old stations on the CTA’s Red Line will close this summer and fall for six-weeks at a time — beginning with Granville on June 1 — to make way for $86 million in repairs to upgrade every aspect of the passenger experience.

The Granville closing will be followed by similar, six-week closings at: Morse (June 29); Thorndale (Aug. 17); Argyle (Aug. 24); Berwyn (Oct. 5); Lawrence (Oct. 14) and Jarvis (Nov. 9). No two adjacent stations in Rogers Park, Edgewater and Uptown will be closed at the same time.

In some cases, shuttle buses will be made available. In other cases, passengers will be asked to walk a few blocks to the next open station to make way for improvements ranging from viaduct and platform repairs to new lighting, floors, doors and windows and waterproofing for stations that leak like a sieve.

“These are literally the worst stations in the system. … It’s been a source of frustration over the years that they’ve been neglected. ... We are attacking that problem — finally,” CTA President Forrest Claypool said.

“By the end of this year or early 2013, you’ll have a complete facelift of stations that haven’t been touched in a hundred years.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel noted that four of the stations targeted for renovation — Morse, Jarvis, Granville and Argyle — opened in 1908, when President Teddy Roosevelt was passing the torch to William Howard Taft and the Cubs last won the World Series.

“Both are due for a change,” Emanuel joked, referring to both the Red Line stations and the Cubs.

The Morse station on Friday appeared stuck in time. like nothing has changed since it was built in the early 1900s except for several coatings of white paint and the addition of machines to buy farecards.

The smell of urine was pungent near the stairwells and on some areas of the platform.

The viaducts under the platform look worn, with rust showing. Murals underneath the platform didn’t do much to distract from the wear and tear of the station.

“After 100-plus years, it’s time for a facelift, time for modernization and time to give the people on the Red Line what the people on the Brown Line have seen ever since we’ve changed it,” Emanuel said.

Last fall, Emanuel joined Gov. Pat Quinn in announcing plans for a $1 billion overhaul of the workhorse line that carries nearly 40 percent of the system’s rail passengers, but travels as slow as 15 mph through much of the South Side.

At the time, they said passengers would be forced to endure three years of construction that might include station closings. But they never mentioned when and where those closings would be.

On Friday, the particulars were revealed and officials made no attempt to minimize the inconvenience.

“With progress comes a little bit of pain. You can’t have one without the other,” Claypool said, noting that North Side stations are “pretty close together.”

Emanuel acknowledged that CTA riders are creatures of habit and that “nobody should minimize” how difficult it is to change that routine.

But he said, “We worked through these issues when we did the Brown Line modernization….In our neighborhood, when I used to take the Montrose [station and] that was closed, Irving [Park] was open. When Irving was getting fixed, Montrose was already open.”

Ald. Joe Moore (49th) noted that the Jarvis station has been on the chopping block for years, forcing Rogers Park residents to mobilize repeatedly to keep it open.

“The fact that they’re spending all that money on Jarvis is a good sign. You don’t invest millions in a station, then turn around and close it,” he said.

Emanuel campaigned on a promised to extend the Red Line south to 130th Street while adding stations, improving others and eliminating slow zones.

Red Line stations south of Addison will be upgraded during Phase Two of the project, the mayor said.

Contributing: Tina Sfondeles

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