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City makes small step towards Lawrence station renovation

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Workers prepare for Phase I of the CTA’s Red and Purple line modernization project

Lawrence Red Line station
CTA Flickr

The city is preparing to begin reconstruction on the four oldest Red Line stations as part of the CTA’s historic Red and Purple Modernization project. First up appears to be the Lawrence Avenue station in the Uptown neighborhood.

An empty lot next to the Lawrence stop, located at 1130 W. Lawrence Avenue, will now be used for construction equipment and activities related to the modernization, according to the mayor’s office. The lease for the site was authorized for use by the CTA at Wednesday’s city council meeting. Even with this step forward, the construction on the Lawrence station won’t begin until mid-2019.

The first phase of construction involves rebuilding the four oldest Red Line stations—the Lawrence, Argle, Berwyn, and Bryn Mawr stops. The design hasn’t been set yet, that will come when a general contractor is selected for the project this year.

The platforms will all be made fully accessible to people with disabilities and the 1.3 miles of adjacent tracks will be updated as well. At Lawrence, an elevator, larger station house and wider platforms are expected.

The Lawrence station opens on February 27, 1923.
CTA Historical Photo Collection

The Lawrence station was originally built in 1923, and is now used by more than 1.1 million riders annually. Over the years, the stop has been through upgrades and its original main station house was demolished. The changes it will see in 2019 will transform the structure, similar to what the Wilson station underwent.

The most anticipated part of this modernization project is the construction of a rail bypass to unclog the awful, 100-year-old junction where Purple, Brown and Red lines intersect. The change will hopefully reduce train traffic jams and increase capacity on each line.

Photo of the Lawrence station from the CTA Historic Photo Collection via Chicago-L