AVONDALE — The Belmont Blue Line station will receive a $15 million upgrade — including a soaring glass and steel canopy that "puts Avondale architecturally on the map," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday morning.
The overhaul of the 45-year-old station is being done with an eye toward beautifying the area and providing better access to the bus and train.
The station at 3355 W. Belmont Ave. provides access to the Blue Line as well as the No. 82 Kimball Bus and the No. 77 Belmont Bus, the fifth-busiest bus line in the city, CTA and city officials said.
That makes for a very busy transportation hub at Belmont and Kimball avenues. Not only will the improvements modernize and beautify the area, they also will make a safer and more user-friendly commuter experience for CTA customers, the mayor and other city officials said Monday.
The canopy, which will be made of long, white beams over a glass base, "puts Avondale architecturally on the map," Emanuel said.
"With its design, it's an improvement in the vision we have for our stations as well as the efficiency," Emanuel said at a news conference outside the station Monday morning.
The station will be rebuilt with a new canopy and safer street-level access for commuters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. [Provided/CTA]
The project will include a "community gateway" and improve the bus arrival and departure areas to provide safer and more efficient access, officials said. The new canopy also will provide an expanded covered area for commuters.
CTA also will test prepaid boarding for trains and buses at the station, the first station to try out the technology, officials said.
"It will improve efficiency. [Commuters] will be able to board faster, easier," said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th).
The Belmont Blue Line station opened in 1970 as part of the Blue Line's expansion from Logan Square to Jefferson Park, the city said. This will be the first major renovation, which is expected to start late next year.
It will also help make Avondale more commuter- and pedestrian-friendly, said Emily Taylor, president of the Avondale Neighborhood Association.
With the Kennedy Expy. just north of the hub, the area is often crowded with car traffic that can be hazardous to pedestrians, she said.
"This project will help counteract that," she said.
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