During a celebration marking the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Chicago Transit Authority President Dorval Carter announced an ambitious plan to bring wheelchair accessibility to all of the CTA's 145 elevated and subway rail stops. Dubbed the CTA Strategic Accessibility Program, the newly-announced initiative is a collaboration between city officials, CTA, ADA, architects, engineers, and members of the disability community. As things currently stand, close to 70% of the CTA's 145 stations are wheelchair accessible. The 46 stops that do not include elevators are mostly older stations built well before the 1990 passage of the landmark ADA legislation, according to the CTA. The goal of the Strategic Accessibility Program is to present the first-ever comprehensive plan for total accessibility.
However, the process to bring full wheelchair compliance to the nation's second largest public transportation agency will not happen overnight. The CTA has announced the a timeline of 20 years to complete its goal of 100% accessibility. Though many of the CTA's existing rail improvement initiatives such as the Red and Purple Line modernization projects and upcoming Washington-Wabash station already include provisions for elevator access, other recent projects such as the Damen Blue Line station renovation were forced to defer accessibility improvements after the CTA was unable to acquire the necessary space to add elevators. Naturally, whatever steps the working group ultimately decides upon will be at the mercy of budgetary constraints, which may help explain the rather pessimistic 2036 timetable. The CTA Strategic Accessibility Program is expected to present their plan — including cost estimates and implementation schedules — by 2017.
·CTA Announces Next Step Toward Making its Rail System 100% Accessible [Chicago Transit Authority]
·CTA Red & Purple Modernization Project to Cost Nearly $2B [Curbed Chicago]
·The ADA at 25: How One Law Helped Usher in An Age of Accessible Design [Curbed]
·Train Spotting archives [Curbed Chicago]