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City To Take Public Comments On New Loop ‘L’ Stop Plan

Artistic rendering of a new $75 million CTA station at Washington Street and Wabash Avenue, which would replace two existing stops on Wabash at Randolph and Madison streets. (Credit: Chicago Department of Transportation)

Artistic rendering of a new $75 million CTA station at Washington Street and Wabash Avenue, which would replace two existing stops on Wabash at Randolph and Madison streets. (Credit: Chicago Department of Transportation)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – City officials have scheduled a public meeting for Thursday to hear input on a $75 million plan to merge two downtown ‘L’ stops into one larger station along Wabash Avenue – which would eliminate the last original CTA stop on the east leg of the Loop.

The city plans to build a new ‘L’ station at Washington Street and Wabash Avenue, eliminating the Randolph/Wabash and the Madison/Wabash stations.

The Chicago Department of Transportation will host a public hearing from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. At the meeting, officials will discuss the draft environmental assessment of the project.

The new station would have elevators for people with disabilities, an escalator, a new mezzanine, and larger platforms. It also would have signs with real-time train arrival information.

Currently, only three of the eight stops on the Loop are wheelchair accessible – the Harold Washington Library, Clark/Lake, and Washington/Wells stations – and none of the three existing stops along Wabash has an elevator.

Construction of the new station is expected to start this fall, and should be completed by 2016. The project originally was slated to be completed by last September, but the timeline changed because of additional environmental studies needed before construction could begin.

Preservation Chicago, an architectural protection group, recently named the Madison/Wabash station that would be eliminated by the project as one of the seven most endangered sites in the city.

Located along the Jewelers’ Row Chicago Landmark District, the Madison/Wabash station is the last original station on the east section of the Loop to still have its original station house. Most of the others were removed beginning in the 1950s.