California Blue Line stop set to open after facelift


California Blue Line stop set to open after facelift

By Assistant Metro Editor

The California Blue Line station, 2211 N. California Ave., will reopen Oct. 16 after 42 days of renovations. 

Chicago Transit Authority crews are currently working on a project called “Your New Blue,” which is set to modernize 13 of the O’Hare branch’s Blue Line stations. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the $492 million renovation is the most ambitious since the Blue Line was linked to O’Hare in 1984.

The California stop, which primarily serves Logan Square, is undergoing improvements to its interior platform, house exterior and the station exterior. Repairs will include painting the station, new platforms, improved lighting, signage and new bike racks, according to an Aug. 29 CTA press release.

“It’s long overdue,” said Yessi Lantigua, a Logan Square resident. “Hopefully it’ll all pay off.” 

The station exterior will receive the installation of new LED lights. It will also have improved signage, directions and other travel aids,  along with installing public artwork throughout the station.

The entrance of the station will have repainted elevated structures with new lighting to highlight the station’s historic facade. Concrete will be replaced at the entrance, and a new bike rack will be installed. There will also be a renewal of the interior wall and ceiling finishes, as well as a replacement of the ticket agents booths with prefabricated stainless steel booths, according to the CTA press release.

The flooring of the station, currently all concrete, is being replaced with granite flooring. The historic masonry on the walls will also be restored, and the entrance canopy will be replaced. 

“I think what they’re doing, from what I can tell, is cosmetic,” said Russell Harrison, a Logan Square resident. “It’d be nice to have a covering [over the stop] in case it rained or snowed.”

During the station’s closure, customers can access the Blue Line from the neighboring Western or Logan Square stations, both of which are accessible to customers with disabilities. 

The CTA press release said there will also be shuttle service provided by the No. 56 Milwaukee bus route that will be available daily during all service hours. Service hours are from 4:25 a.m.– 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and Saturday, and 4:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. on Sunday. Overnight, customers can access the Blue Line through the temporary No. 56 California station Owl route. The Owl route will provide limited operation and will serve only the California and Western stations. 

“I feel like we’ve been having to deal with [renovations] all summer,” Lantigua said. “Between the temporary shutdown and having to take buses between train stops. Hopefully it’ll be worth it.”

Several residents said they have decided to not take the shuttle bus and are instead taking their own routes to get to the trains because they find the bus inconvenient.

“[The renovation] makes my commute longer by 10 minutes,” Harrison said. “Now I take the bus to a nearby stop. I don’t take the shuttle because the one time I tried to take [it], I ended up waiting about 20 minutes for [it] to show up.”

Although the station will see major improvements, some customers are unhappy with the amount of time being spent on renovations The time being spend it said to be too long, said Logan Square citizens.. 

 “I do two different trips now,” Lantigua said. “Luckily, I live in between two stops out of Logan Square that are the same distance, but in the morning I take the bus to the train, so I can completely avoid the Blue Line. It’s not so much fun.”

Of the 13 stations scheduled to be renovated, Grand, Chicago, Division, Damen, Western, California, Logan Square, Addison, Jefferson Park and Irving Park through Cumberland will be receiving only station work, according to the CTA press release. 

The press release also states that the next station to be renovated is the Damen station, 1588 N. Damen Ave. The Milwaukee, Dearborn and Kimball stations will receive track and infrastructure renovation.

The renovations will benefit more than 80,000 customers who took 25 million rides from the Blue Line last year, according to the CTA press release.