Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. were joined today by Congressman Danny Davis and Congressman Bobby Rush to announce the Garfield Gateway project—a plan to make major improvements to the Garfield Green Line station to create a strong community focal point on Chicago’s South Side and an iconic gateway to the Washington Park community, while providing an improved commuting experience for CTA customers.
“The investments we make in local transit are investments in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “This project will create an iconic gateway to the Washington Park community; further complimenting the larger neighborhood redevelopment initiatives currently underway while enhancing the overall commuter experience.”
The Garfield Gateway project will improve the environment for commuters in a number of ways, including extending the platform canopies to provide more shelter; upgrading platform accessibility, including elevator and escalator improvements; and installing public art and landscaping to make the daily customer experience more pleasant.
In 2016, CTA received $25 million in federal funding for the project through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.
“The Garfield Gateway Project will better serve the nearly 475,000 passengers who rely on this Green Line station each year. I was proud to support this important project as it competed for TIGER grant funding with others across the nation. These upgrades will improve CTA accessibility and preserve the rich history of the Washington Park neighborhood,” U.S. Senator Dick Durbin said. “I will continue to advocate for federal investments like this one that support job growth and allow communities to prosper.”
“This important grant for the Garfield Green Line Station is just the latest in a long list of grants and loans provided to the CTA under President Obama including (among others) $20 million TIGER grant to complete the Blue Line track repair and expand the bike share program, $20 million TIGER grant for improvements to the CTA 95th Street terminal, $79 million TIFIA loan for the CTA 95th Street Bus and Rail Project, $1.25 million FTA Transit-Oriented Development Pilot Planning Program for improvements to the Red and Purple lines, a $255 million USDOT TIFIA loan to purchase 490 rail cars for the CTA nearly one third of the CTA rail fleet,” said Congressman Davis. “Public transit improvements and modernization has been a hallmark of this administration and Chicago has benefitted and will continue to benefit in the coming years from this critical public investment.”
“As I have said, I am very happy that the $25 million TIGER grant was awarded to the CTA’s Garfield Green Line Station project. The Green Line is a critical link between my constituents in South Side neighborhoods and downtown Chicago, connecting people to employment centers and educational institutions and providing access to essential services. In addition, the upgrades and beautification plans for the station support the larger community’s revitalization efforts that spur economic growth; and improve quality of life for those residing nearby,” said Congressman Rush.
The project will also rehabilitate the original Garfield station house on the south side of Garfield Boulevard that is no longer in use by customers, but still owned by the CTA. The historic stationhouse, which earned City of Chicago landmark status in 2001, will be restored to its original turn-of-the century look, and will receive improvements to allow it to serve a public purpose, such as a community space.
Additionally, the project will restore the original section of elevated track structure spanning Garfield Boulevard, which dates back to 1892. The steel structure will receive new paint and LED lighting to illuminate the structure’s design.
The Garfield Gateway project complements a larger neighborhood revitalization effort that is now under way by community groups, property owners and the University of Chicago along Garfield Boulevard.
“This project is an important step toward spurring economic development and improving livability in the neighborhood—benefitting CTA riders and Washington Park residents,” said President Carter. “It’s also another example of how CTA is making investments that improve both the community and the overall customer experience every day.”
In coordination with the Chicago Department of Transportation, the Garfield Gateway project will also include streetscape enhancements next to the station to better integrate existing transportation uses and create a stronger community centerpiece — including improved pedestrian street crossings, eco-friendly paving materials, median landscaping including sustainable native grasses and plants, bike lanes, benches and bike racks at the station.
The Garfield Gateway station is also a key component of the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life Initiative’s Arts Block project, led by renowned Chicago artist Theaster Gates. The project aims to boost Garfield Boulevard through cultural, civic and commercial spaces and programs. A $1.8 million Arts Incubator was constructed in 2013 adjacent to the historic station house in an abandoned, historic two-story terra-cotta building.
The CTA expects work on the Garfield Gateway project to begin in 2018, and will continue its dialogue with the community about project updates and impacts. The total project cost is estimated at $50 million.
The Garfield ‘L’ station serves nearly 475,000 riders each year and provides connections with the #55 Garfield bus, serving more than 3 million riders annually with direct connections to the University of Chicago and Midway International Airport.