In the coming weeks, four Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red Line stations Loyola students and Edgewater residents frequent are closing for full demolition. The Argyle, Bryn Mawr, Lawrence and Berwyn stations will be completely renovated and are scheduled to finish construction in 2024.
The construction of new stations is part of one of the CTA’s largest projects — the Red and Purple Modernization Program (RPM). The RPM is a multi-phased project, with phase one including the Lawrence-Bryn Mawr Modernization Project, The Phoenix reported. All four stations are being completely torn down to allow the CTA to expand them to ensure they are fully Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible.
Scott Petersen, who has lived in Edgewater for four years, said he felt very positive about the RPM project due to the new ADA compliance and improvements to track infrastructure.
“This is a long overdue improvement and maintenance,” Petersen, 35, said.
The Argyle and Bryn Mawr stations are slated to close in March, while the Lawrence and Berwyn stations are scheduled to close at the end of April, with temporary stations being constructed at Argyle and Bryn Mawr during the demolition.
Director of Communications for the RPM, Tammy Chase, said the exact dates of the station closures have not yet been announced as the CTA finalizes construction plans and permits. Chase said the CTA is also nearly finished with building the temporary stations at the Argyle and Bryn Mawr stations.
The new stations will feature improved lighting, wider platforms for less crowding, more seating areas and real-time information boards.
Don Dearinger, a 12 year resident of Edgewater, said he is excited, fascinated and anxious about the project. He said most people don’t fully comprehend the size of this project and how it will impact the community.
“The technology and engineering of these new stations is a radical improvement over what we have now,” Dearinger said.
Bill Morton, a 20 year resident of Rogers Park and the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce president, said he was concerned about the effects of the prolonged construction and the negative impact on business owners and consumers in Rogers Park.
“It’s hard to imagine the negative ripple effects of closing one station, much less three or four,” Morton, 46, said. “People will have to change their work schedule. There will be quality of life and lifestyle changes.”
Chase said the CTA believes mitigation efforts are of supreme importance. Chase said the contractors will use noise blankets to quiet the sound and are required to have a rodent abatement program in place.
Trudy Leong is an administrator at the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce. She has lived in Belmont Cragin, a community area located on the Northwest Side of Chicago, for more than ten years. Leong said Rogers Park is known as a hub for small businesses, and these inconveniences could greatly affect them.
“Many of the businesses are already at-risk of closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so this construction could be the last straw,” Leong said.
Chase said the CTA wants to encourage people to continue to shop and dine in areas affected by the RPM project. The RPM Open for Business Program allows businesses to apply free of charge in exchange for the CTA promoting their goods and services through digital advertising, social media and signage around the community.
Some residents impacted by the station closures will have to alter their daily commutes and routines. Dearinger said he hasn’t used public transportation in the past year but anticipates having to walk an extra three to four blocks to a station when he begins to use it again.
“I think everyone in the community is going to have to adapt,” Dearinger said.