CTA to renovate historic Quincy station in Loop
The Quincy "L" station, seen in this artist's rendering, will undergo renovations, including the addition of elevators for the disabled, CTA President Dorval Carter said June 8, 2016. (CTA / Handout)
In 1897, William McKinley was in the White House, aviator Amelia Earhart was a baby and the Quincy "L" station was built in Chicago's downtown.
Some 119 years later, the stop at Quincy and Wells streets in Chicago's Loop is still one of the busiest stations on the CTA system, located near the financial district and Willis Tower, with 2.2 million rides annually on the Brown, Orange, Pink and Purple lines. It's also one of the most attractive, with pressed metal wreaths and polished wood in the stationhouse, a ticket agent booth replicated in the 1980s based on original 1897 plans and old-time posters on the platform.
But even the best-preserved among us need the occasional makeover. So on Wednesday, the CTA board approved a contract for station renovations, which will include adding two elevators to make the station accessible to customers with disabilities.
The $18.2 million renovation also will include stair replacement, painting and lighting improvements, but it will preserve the appearance of the station, according to the CTA. The board awarded an $11.7 million contract to Park Ridge-based Ragnar Benson Construction LLC, which has done previous work for the CTA. That includes the Loop track renewal project in 2012, which replaced more than 2 miles of elevated rail and track components downtown, said CTA spokesman Jeffrey Tolman.
The Quincy CTA station at Quincy and Wells streets in Chicago's Loop, seen here in December 2014, will undergo renovations as the agency continues to preserve and restore several historic CTA locations. (Phil Velasquez / Chicago Tribune)The rest of the Quincy project will be handled in-house, Tolman said. The station, which is expected to remain open during construction, was last renovated in 1988.
"It's a very busy station for us, and I think it will be a tremendous improvement to our customers and particularly to our disabled customers," CTA President Dorval Carter told reporters after the meeting. Work on the station is expected to begin later this year, though no date was immediately available.
The CTA is also looking to better preserve its historic cars and equipment through a Heritage Fleet program announced last week. The fleet consists of a selection of retired railcars and buses, including two 1923 orange-and-brown 4000-series railcars, along with buses from the 1960s with their original markings.
CTA adds Bus Tracker displays at 51 rail stopsThe program will set guidelines for future preservation, maintenance and repair of the vehicles, with funding from revenue generated by the CTA's online gift store and private charters of the vehicles. The agency also plans to show off the historic vehicles at city events and activities.
After Wednesday's meeting, Carter also noted that the state of Illinois' continued budget impasse means that the agency still is not receiving its annual $28 million subsidy for reduced and free fares. Such fares are provided for students, senior citizens, members of the military and people with disabilities.
"It's not having an immediate impact on service or anything like that," Carter said. He said the agency's budget is big enough to deal with the delay in funding.
But he noted it is a growing cost for the CTA, and he is looking forward to the continuing commitment from the state.
CTA to test prepaid boarding on Belmont busesThe CTA also announced that it had received its first perfect score in its triennial review from the Federal Transit Administration, the oversight agency for transit systems. The FTA reviewed 17 areas, including safety, finance, maintenance and public input.
The FTA looked at nearly 600 transit agencies between 2013 and 2016 and found an average of eight deficiencies in each, CTA spokesman Brian Steele said. An FTA representative was not immediately available for comment.
"It is very rare, especially for a transit agency of this size, to get a perfect score," Carter said in a statement. He said the score is a testament to the attention paid by CTA employees to federal regulations.