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Take A Photo Tour Of The New And Improved Wilson Red Line Station

By Mae Rice in News on Mar 24, 2016 4:01PM

The Wilson Red Line station has been under construction since December 2014, and it still is. As of Monday, though, construction reached phase two, which means that passengers can now access the station's entirely new southbound platform. Documented in the photo tour above, its completion means that the Wilson Station renovations are one-third finished.

On the new platform, passengers can currently catch morning Loop-bound Purple Line Express trains, as well as the 95th-bound Red Line trains that run around the clock, CTA spokesman Jeff Tolman explained. The platform is currently served by two temporary entrances—one on the north side of Wilson, and another on the south. A temporary enclosed bridge for pedestrians connects the north- and southbound train platforms, Tolman added.

All told, the city plans to spend $203 million on the Wilson Station Reconstruction, meant to modernize a station that was, when construction started, more than 90 years old. (It was built in 1923.) Renovations should be complete by late 2017, according to CTA projections, and will make the station a new transfer point between the Red Line and the Purple Line Express.

Renovations will make the station accessible to people with disabilities, with new elevators, ramps and wheelchair-accessible fare gates, plus Braille signage. The remodel is also intended to make the station safer—with "brighter lighting" and 100 new security cameras—and transform its Wilson/Broadway corner into a viable retail location.

The renovation could spark a renaissance in Uptown. A glitzy entertainment hub for Chicago in the '20s—thanks to the Green Mill and the Aragon, among others—the neighborhood has fallen onto slightly harder times in recent years. As we explain here, Uptown's decline happened in part because Edgewater effectively seceded from Uptown, forming its own, more upscale neighborhood.

Some Uptown community groups are hoping the city will take the renovations a step further by creating the city's first official park underneath a set of elevated CTA tracks. Their proposal is called the "Wilson Underline," and would transform the unused space beneath the station into a park with plants, walking and biking space and food truck parking, according to the Tribune.