CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on hand Thursday for the grand opening of the new Morgan ‘L’ station on the Green and Pink lines – the first new ‘L’ stop to open in 18 years.
The Morgan station at Morgan and Lake streets is at the epicenter of the West Loop Warehouse District, a block from the fashionable restaurants and nightlife on Randolph Street, and two blocks from Harpo Studios, the former home of the Oprah Winfrey show.
“Having world-class infrastructure is essential to our city’s goals of quality of life and economic opportunity for residents,” Mayor Emanuel said in a news release. “This station will help Chicagoans get around the city, to work, to school, and to be with their families. It will also have a profound impact on the local area in terms of job creation.”
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the new Morgan station was the end result of $8 million in federal funding through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program, which assists cities in paying for transportation projects that improve air quality and reduce congestion.
“This station will benefit both the area’s longstanding businesses as well as its more recent residents, restaurants, nightclubs and shops,” Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool said in a news release. “It will provide a convenient, affordable transit option to the people who live, work and visit this community, and will likely serve as a spark for future development in the area.”
The new Morgan stop fills in a gap of nearly 1.5 miles with no stops between the Clinton and Ashland stations. To the west on the Green Line, there is still a gap of 1.5 miles between the Ashland and California stops.
The station emulates both contemporary architecture in the neighborhood and the old industrial buildings that remain, with two four-story towers on either side of Lake Street and a glass-enclosed sky bridge between the platforms.
Customers can enter from the north and south sides of Lake Street, and auxiliary exits are open a half block east at Sangamon Street.
The balance of funding for the $38 million project after the federal grant came from the Kinzie Industrial Corridor Tax Increment Financing District.