The Addison station house is seen looking north on May 26, 2005. The functional, rectilinear International Style building, with its simple steel and glass enclosure and completely open front, is typical of the stations designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill for the Kennedy Extension. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Addison (3600N/3600W)
Addison Street and Central Park Avenue, Avondale/Irving Park

Service Notes:

Blue Line: O'Hare

Owl Service

Quick Facts:

Address: 3622 W. Addison Street
Established: February 1, 1970
Original Line: West-Northwest Route, Milwaukee branch
Previous Names: none

Skip-Stop Type:

Station (1970-1983)

Station (1983-1995)

Rebuilt: n/a
Status: In Use

History:

Heading to the Jefferson Park terminal, a six-car train of 2200-series railcars trailed by car 2277 wraps its way around the Addison station as part of the dedication activities for the new Kennedy Extension on January 30, 1970. For a larger view, click here. (CTA photo)

The extension of the Milwaukee Line of the West-Northwest Route (the forerunner of today's Blue Line) reached its new terminal at Jefferson Park via a new subway and the median of the Kennedy Expressway. After running in subway under Milwaukee and Kimball avenues, the line crosses under the eastbound lanes of the John F. Kennedy Expressway at School Street (3300N), ascends to the surface and continues northwest another four miles in the median of the Kennedy Expressway to Jefferson Park (5400N). Built concurrently with the Dan Ryan Line -- and together known as the Kennedy-Dan Ryan ("KDR") project -- the Kennedy Extension incorporated several new design features that were considered revolutionary or at least very modern for the time.

The design of the six stations of the Kennedy Extension was carried out by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill under the direction of Myron Goldsmith, who developed a modern, functional form in the late International style popular at the time. Improved visibility and security, ease of cleaning and more comfortable working conditions for CTA employee were design goals. Skidmore took the KDR project in a unique direction, designing all aspects of the new lines to harmonize in both shapes and materials. The shape of everything, from the buildings to the agents' booths, to the trashcans, followed together into a seamless design philosophy, which perfectly captured the boxy, purely functional International Modern style for which Skidmore is so well known. The formal and functional criteria were expressed in several ways: open, uncluttered, brightly lit interior spaces; durability, safety, maximum efficiency of movement; lightness and purity of structure. All windbreaks, dividers, and ticket booths were stainless steel.

The International style median stations were constructed of white steel and glass providing maximum visibility from adjacent streets and highways boxy. In terms of interior arrangement and design for the passenger, Skidmore generally followed the edict of modernist pioneer Mies van der Rohe that‚ "less is more." Except for at a few locations, there were no concessions provided for passengers. Air conditioning and a compact washroom with a toilet were provided in the agents' booths. Restrooms were for employees only, though payphones were provided. Stainless steel turnstiles, now an industry standard, were first used here. The amenities and traffic circulation fit with the architectural design of the station: efficient but purely functional. Stations were designed with wide walkways and no blind corners, with turnstiles and agents booths arranged for maximum queuing and circulation effectiveness. The Dan Ryan and Kennedy stations were also set up to allow Pay On Train operation, though without all of the complicated gates and rearrangement built into the Congress stations. The boarding platforms were long enough to accommodate 8-car trains.

The interior of the Addison station is seen looking north from the sidewalk on May 26, 2005. The square shapes of the booth and overhead sign -- both original to the station's construction -- were designed to harmonize with the gridded form of the rest of the station. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Addison is one of four median stations, which were the centerpieces of Skidmore's design for the KDR project. The station features an entrance on the north side of Addison Street, a rectilinear building of white-painted steel frame with full-height glass curtain walls located at street level and cantilevered over the tracks below. The stainless steel ticket agent booth and turnstiles were at street level; the booth is now used by a Customer Assistant, and the original turnstiles were replaced with Cubic-manufactured electronic farecard equipment -- turnstiles and vending machines -- in the mid-1990s. The booth and fare controls are near the front of the interior, leaving most of the interior on the paid side. A stairway and escalator connect the station house to the island platform.

Typical of the Skidmore-designed KDR stations, the Addison platform featured large-aggregate terrazzo flooring and a canopy supported by a single row of square support posts. The canopy, which extends beyond the center line of the tracks, has a white-painted steel frame with rows of translucent domes. Self-service infrared radiant heaters are located at windbreaks on the platforms. The platform is curved, which was not ideal but workable because conductors worked the doors on the train and were positioned in the center of the train where they visibility from the midpoint of the curve. After conductors were withdrawn from trains in the 1990s, cameras and monitors were set up to assist the Operator with the view down the train when closing the side doors.

In early 2005, Addison received new signage, mostly on the platform. The older KDR-type station name signs and column-mounted "symbol signs" were replaced with new Green Line Graphic Standard versions. Also replaced were the directional wayfinding signs, the long signs directing passengers to which direction of service operates on which side of the platform, at the entrance to the platform. New station entrance signs were added at street level, two mounted in a V-shape on the fascia of the station house projecting outward toward the street.

 

Your New Blue: Station Improvements

On December 5, 2013, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Pat Quinn announced a comprehensive improvement plan for the Blue Line O'Hare Branch (including the northern portion of the Dearborn Subway), an overhaul that will provide faster travel times and updated stations while creating more than 1,300 jobs.

The $492 million plan, called Your New Blue, includes several track and station improvement projects along a 12.5-mile stretch of the Blue Line between the Grand and Cumberland stations, as well as upgrades to the signal system between the Jefferson Park and O'Hare stations. The overall Your New Blue program, beginning construction in 2014 and planned to last four years, is a package of several discrete projects ranging from station improvements to track renewal, signal replacement, traction power upgrades, and subway tunnel water mitigation efforts.

Addison is one of the stations planned to receive improvements under the program. The scope of these improvements includes the installation of an elevator to make the station accessible to customers with disabilities, repairs to damaged concrete at the platform edges and replacement of blue tactile edge panels.1

The scope, design, and timeline for the station improvements under Your New Blue are still being finalized.

The Addison station platform is seen looking southeast on November 4, 2005. The station house is visible in the distance, and the original aggregate deck is still in place. The platform isn't very wide and the curve in it is less-than-ideal operationally. The monitors up above are the aid the Operator with the view of the side doors down the train. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


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The Addison station house is seen looking southeast from the Kennedy Expressway on July 28, 2001. The station building's boxy shape and steel frame with full-height glass curtain walls provides the structure a light, airy, open feel and epitomizes the modernist International style that architects Skidmore Owings & Merrill specialized in and applied to the facilities. (Photo by by Graham Garfield)

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The entrance to Addison station is seen looking northwest on November 24, 2002. With the building still painted all-white it more closely resembles its original 1970 appearance. Note that, it being close to the holidays, a garland has been strung on the outside of the Customer Assistant's booth. (Photo by by Graham Garfield)
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The Addison station is seen looking down from the Addison Street overpass on November 24, 2002. The street-level building extends down to the platform to fully enclose the vertical access elements. The design of the platform, with its canopy of rows of domed roof panels supported by a single row of columns, can be clearly seen, as can the severe curve in the platform following the path of the expressway. (Photo by by Graham Garfield)
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The windbreak in the foreground was original to the station's design and construction, and is a good example of the holistic design approach Skidmore took to the Kennedy-Dan Ryan project. The shelter's clean lines and rectilinearly match those of the station's architectural overall, and the use of polishes stainless steel was consistent with most of the original fixtures and fittings. The Addison station name sign is also consistent with this aesthetic philosophy, and was part of the KDR signage standard designed for the project but eventually implemented systemwide. This view looking northwest on November 24, 2002. (Photo by by Graham Garfield)
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The Addison station platform is seen looking northwest from the south end, at the bottom of the escalator to the station house, on November 24, 2002. The canopy and flooring are still original in this view, as are several of the fixtures (like the windbreak in the distance, detail view above) and signs like symbol signs on the columns, backlit directional sign overhead (although it was updated to reflect O'Hare as the terminal, an extension opened after this station opened) and the "Board here" signs with red lower compartment with "disappearing" Pay on train reading (illuminated remotely from the agent's booth). These are interspersed with new items like the LED A/V signs and the tall, narrow box that contains the "gap filler", used to bridge the gap (both vertically and horizontally) between the platform and train floor for customers in wheelchairs. (Photo by by Graham Garfield)
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The interior in the paid area of the Addison station is seen on May 26, 2005, looking northwest at the stairs and escalator to the platform. This portion of the station is very spacious, with lot of extra room and circulation capacity. Some of it has been used for equipment cabinets and bike racks. The full-height window curtain walls give the station a light, open feeling with a lot of natural light. At the same time, they enhance visibility and security -- all of which were design goals for the station architects. (Photo by by Graham Garfield)

Notes:

1. "Your New Blue." CTA website, accessed January 11, 2014.