Since 2011, there has been discussion from the CTA, the mayor’s office, and community leaders about possible upgrades to the Red-Purple Line corridor. The next phase in that process has begun.
The Red Line has had a dramatic rise in the recent past; just in the past 5 years, rush-hour ridership has increased 40 percent. The stations from Wilson to Bryn Mawr were built between 1908 and 1923. The track and infrastructure in this part of the line are up to over 100 years old.
Several dramatic options were proposed including moving the line underground and removing/ reorganizing stations between Wilson and Loyola. The final plan, known as RPM (Red-Purple Moderniza-tion) will keep the current location for each stop. The stations from Wilson to Bryn Mawr (built between 1908 and 1923) will be rebuilt, providing wider plat-forms, modern conveniences, and ADA compliance. Track and infrastructure (over-street crossings, via-ducts, signals, and other support structures) will be rebuilt along this entire portion of the line as well, removing the dreaded “slow zones” that needlessly stretch commute times. Reconstruction on the Wil-son station will begin this fall, having already re-ceived funding through federal grants. (Other grants are slated for the remainder of the project.) Further phases will affect the line and stations north of Bryn Mawr up to the Linden station in Wilmette. The cost of this phase will be $1.7 billion.
RPM also includes the construction of a Red-Purple Bypass just north of Belmont. This will allow north-bound Brown line trains to bypass the other lines when crossing to the Southport station, eliminating stop times for the Red and Purple lines at that point. RPM is part of the much larger Red Ahead program, which also includes the Red Line South Reconstruc-tion Project (completed in 2013) and the Red Line Extension Project, currently in planning, to lengthen the southern leg of the line to 130th Street.
The CTA will be hosting an Open House to share de-tails and seek input from those in the community. This will be held on Wednesday, May 21st from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, at Truman Community College, 1145 W. Wilson. Comments can also be sent by email to RPM@transitchicago.com or via US Mail to Chicago Transit Authority, Strategic Planning – 10th floor, ATTN: RPM Project, 567 W. Lake Street, Chicago, IL 60661-1465.