An outbound Brown Line train, trailed by car 3424, crosses Kedzie Avenue and pulls into the rebuilt Kedzie station, looking west on August 16, 2006, the day the station reopened to public use. Compare this view to shots taken at the same angle in decades past below. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

Kedzie (3200W/4700N)
Kedzie Avenue and Leland Avenue, Albany Park

Service Notes:

Brown Line: Ravenswood

Accessible Station

Quick Facts:

Address:

4648 N. Kedzie Avenue (Kedzie entrance)

4649 N. Spaulding Avenue (Spaulding auxiliary entrance)

Established: December 14, 1907
Original Line: Northwestern Elevated Railroad, Ravenswood branch
Previous Names: none

Skip-Stop Type:

Station

Rebuilt: 1975
(new station house), 2006
Status: In Use

History:

A CTA Training Train, led by car 4391, pulls out from the Kedzie station on the Ravenswood branch on August 20, 1970. The design of this two-story station was unique, though it was similar to Linden in some respects. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Joe Testagrose)

After the initial construction of the Ravenswood branch of the Northwestern Elevated to Western Avenue was placed into service May 18, 1907, the finishing touches were completed on the surface level extension to Kimball and Lawrence, which entered service December 14, 1907. Initially, shuttle trains ran from Kimball to Western, but direct-to-Loop service wasn't far off.

The stations on the grade-level portion of the line were between the tracks, with an entrance to the island platform. The area west of Western was in a tract of land owned by the Northwest Land Association, who viewed the rapid transit extension as integral to their development. (This also negated the need for a franchise from the city of build this section since, technically, the tracks didn't cross any city-owned public streets.) The land association not only provided for the free right-of-way, but also paid for the construction of the Kedzie station.

The original Kedzie station, a much larger structure than its grade-level neighbors to the east Francisco and Rockwell, was designed by architect Arthur U. Gerber. The bracketed hipped roof was similar to other bungaloid structures Gerber designed elsewhere on the "L", including the next station west, Kimball, and at Linden in Wilmette.

Four days after the station's closure for reconstruction, crews have begun dismantling the station, removing the plexiglas panels and interior equipment, seen looking west on February 24, 2006. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

It was used until January 1974, when the 1907 station house was demolished. The station house may have been damaged by a fire. A new station facility -- an enclosed walkway constructed of a black steel framework with large Plexiglas windows and skylights housing the fare controls -- was constructed, opened on January 31, 1975. The original platform and platform canopy remained intact.

The station contained a second exit at the west end to Spaulding Street. This was, at one time, an auxiliary, part-time entrance as well, but was closed as a secondary entrance on September 2, 1973, one of several station-related cutbacks that year in the midst of severe financial shortages. Spaulding was retained as exit.

 

Park & Ride

Around 1990, the maintenance shop at Kimball Yard was rebuilt and part of the yard was reconfigured. As a result, some of the spaces at the Kimball station park & ride were lost. CTA sought to replace the lost spaces, as demand for parking exceeded the available lot capacity, and in late December 1993 the City of Chicago permitted CTA to use the property at 4814-4826 N. Kedzie Avenue for additional parking. The CTA signed an intergovernmental agreement with the City for the spaces for a term of two years, after which the agreement was extended on a month-to-month basis. This continued for another 16 years.

The Kedzie park & ride lot -- originally listed on maps as having 64 spaces, but lowered to 50 spaces by the early 2000s -- was not immediately adjacent to the Kedzie Brown Line rail station. The lot was approximately 0.3 miles north of the station, across Lawrence Avenue, requiring a significant walk from the lot to the "L" for patrons. By 2009, CTA no longer felt the lot met their needs. Besides its remote location, the lot was unpaved and unimproved, and represented a small fraction of park & ride demand and revenue. At the same time, the Chicago Public Schools expressed interest in leases spaces in the lot, which was still owned by the City.

CTA decided to discontinue month-to-month extension of the lease agreement and return the lot to the City. On October 1, 2009, CTA closed the Kedzie Brown Line park & ride lot.

 

Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project

By 2004, ridership had exploded on the Brown Line -- an 79% increase since 1979 and a 27% increase since 1998 -- that during peak periods many trains were at crush-loaded, resulting in commuters left standing on platforms unable to board the loaded trains, sometimes waiting as one or two trains passed before they were physically able to board. The problem in large part was that all Brown Line stations could only accommodate six-car trains (with the exception of Merchandise Mart, Chicago, Fullerton and Belmont, which could already hold eight-car trains), which, along with the limitations of the cab signal system, limited the line's capacity.

As a result, the CTA decided to plan for the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project, the largest capital improvement project undertaken by the CTA at the time (surpassing even the Douglas Renovation Project, which was the largest up to that point). The main objectives of the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project are to expand the line's overall ridership capacity by lengthening station platforms to accommodate eight rather than six-car trains, rehabilitate rail infrastructure and stations, provide for station enhancements to meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and upgrade or replace traction power, signal and communication equipment. By far, the largest part of the Brown Line Capacity Expansion Project was the station renovations. Of the Brown Line's 19 stations, only one (Merchandise Mart) was not touched at all due to its modern construction (1988) and ability to berth eight-car trains.

By June 4, 2006, the new station's foundation and basic steel structure was in place. A small chainlink fence protected the work site from passersby on the street. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

On April 13, 2004, the CTA announced that it had officially received a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). However, in May 2004, CTA received construction bids for the project that substantially exceeded the budget. As such, the Chicago Transit Board voted on June 9, 2004 to reorganize the project into several discrete pieces to help attract more competitive construction bids. Station renovation work was modified and grouped into five separate packages according to location to help reduce the overall cost of station construction. Kedzie station was grouped with Kimball, Francisco, Rockwell and Western in a bid package, all of which were designed by the same consultant, Muller & Muller. Station designs were also revised to reduce costs. Most changes concentrated on non-customer areas such as reducing the size of janitor closets, employee restrooms, electrical rooms and communication rooms. Other areas that were studied for cost reduction were standardizing common station elements, the use of less expensive materials, canopy designs and coverage, and temporary station closures to provide contractors better access to the sites.

The Kimball/Kedzie/Francisco/Rockwell/Western contract -- sometimes referred to as "the at-grades" -- was the third of the reorganized station packages to be bid out. At the September 14, 2005 board meeting, a $19.9 million contract for the renovation of these stations was awarded to FHP Tectonics Corporation.

At Kedzie, the existing station house and platforms were rebuilt. The new entrance is a simple, modern structure with a steel framework, glass walls, and an arched roof. The new expanded station house is larger, with more turnstiles and farecard vending machines, and provides ADA accessibility by way of a ramp from the street to the platform within the station house. The station house's paid area provides an ample enclosed space to wait for trains and includes heat lamps and a decorative leaning bar. The existing auxiliary rotogate exit at Spaulding was retained and upgraded to be an auxiliary entrance, with a smaller version of the main entrance station house enclosing the fare controls, which will ultimately be High-Barrier Gates (HBGs) but which are, for now, turnstiles (see more below).

The interior of the rebuilt Kedzie station is seen looking west on August 16, 2006, reopening day. The new station house is spacious, with tall ceilings and generous paid and unpaid areas. The new CA booth has large expanses of glass for improved visibility. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

The new 8-car platform features new wood decking with new, modern lighting. Protection from inclement weather is provided by canopied windbreak shelters. Other improvements to the station include new signage; tactile edging along the platform; benches that double as sandboxes as well as small individual stools to sit on; electrical, communications, and HVAC equipment; new customer heaters; and a state-of-the-art announcement system.

During station construction, Kimball, Kedzie, Francisco, and Rockwell were subject to temporary station closures; however, no two adjacent stations were to be closed at the same time during weekdays so customers may go to the next closest station for service. In addition to the temporary weekday closures, the stations also experienced weekend closures during the construction period when all four stations were closed at the same time to allow construction crews unlimited access to station platforms. During periods of temporary closure, customers were encouraged to use the most convenient existing CTA bus and rail service in the area, including special shuttle buses between Kimball and Western that made stops near the closed Brown Line stations.

Both Kedzie and Rockwell closed on February 20, 2006 for six months while construction work moved forward. During the weekday, rail customers could go to the next closest station for Brown Line service, or choose from eight neighborhood CTA bus routes to meet their transit service needs.

To accomplish work on the at-grade stations, the CTA enacted a handful of linecuts -- times when Brown Line service terminated temporarily at Western station, with service between Western and Kimball provided by free shuttle buses (and occasionally shuttle trains single-tracking between Western and Kedzie) -- to provide the contractors unlimited access to the track, stations and platforms.

Most of Kedzie station was demolished during the weekend of February 24-26, 2006. By March 3-5, the precast concrete foundations for the new Kedzie platform were set. Crews planned to complete installation of the new foundations, install station foundations, and install auxiliary entrance foundations at Kedzie during the remaining March weekend closures of the at-grade portion of the line.

During spring, foundations for Kedzie were poured, the steel frames for the station house erected, and the supports, joists, and stringers for the platform installed. In early June, the platform decking at the station was affixed.

The Kedzie and Rockwell stations on the Brown Line reopened to rail service at 4:45am on Wednesday, August 16, 2006. The two stations reopened two days earlier than originally planned, according to CTA President Frank Kruesi.

Construction work continued at the stations for several weeks after they reopened to complete construction. While the majority of the work -- including accessibility to customers with disabilities -- had been completed to the point that the stations could reopen for passenger use, finishing touches completed after the stops reopened included installing permanent station signs, compass roses inset in the sidewalk in front of the entrances to help customers more easily navigate the system, and new fencing along the adjacent alleys.

Opening the Kedzie and Rockwell stations brought the total number of accessible CTA rail stations as of August 2006 to 74 out of 144 or 51 percent.

When Kimball closed for renovation on September 15, 2006, Kedzie temporarily became the last passenger stop on the Brown Line and all trains entered and went out of service there. Platform personnel were assigned to Kedzie to help clear passengers from the trains. Trains, however, ran empty to Kimball, where one station platform track remained open while the terminal was closed to allow trains to turn around and crews to take breaks in the terminal trainroom. To allow for crossover and signal replacement, the northbound mainline track was also removed from service between Spaulding and Kimball Interlocking for a few months, requiring northbound trains to enter Kimball through the yard lead. From September to November 2006, gatemen were assigned to Kedzie and Spaulding grade crossings to manually operate the gates during peak hours, as backlogs of trains would sometimes develop waiting to get into Kimball resulting in the crossing gates being kept down for inordinately long periods of time if the crossings were on automatic mode. This represented the first regular assignment of crossing gatemen to these locations since the 1960s. During this period, the Spaulding entrance to Kedzie was outfitted with two regular-type turnstiles and two farecard vending machines to provide a more convenient entry point for passengers who formerly used the Kimball station a few blocks west. The entrance was also staffed, with a temporary wooden Customer Assistant booth placed on the sidewalk in front of the entrance. Kimball station reopened on January 12, 2007, returning Kedzie to being a through-station.

The regular turnstiles remained at the Spaulding entrance for several months after the Kimball station reopened. In order to perform necessary construction at the Spaulding auxiliary entrance for the installation of the High-Barrier Gate (HBG) turnstiles in place of the regular turnstiles, the entrance needed to be temporarily closed. The regular turnstiles were scheduled to be removed on the morning of Sunday, April 8. The work was performed during the week of April 9, with installation of the HBG occurring Saturday, April 14. Afterward, Spaulding reopened as an unstaffed auxiliary entrance, as it had been planned.

The project's Full Funding Grant Agreement with the federal government requires that the CTA complete the project by the end of 2009.

 

The rebuilt Kedzie station platform is seen looking east on August 16, 2006, the day the station reopened. The station features an all-new 8-car length island platform with new, modern light standards and stools for sitting. The signage and fencing on reopening day was temporary , later to be replaced with permanent installations. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


Old Kedzie (1907-2006) | New Kedzie (2006-present)


Old Kedzie station (1907-1975)

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1-50-series single unit car 32 heads into the Kedzie station on its way to Kimball. The bungalow station house was destroyed by fire in the late-1970s. (Photo by Leon Kay)

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Flat-door 6000-series car 6014 leads a westbound Ravenswood train approaching Kedzie station from the east. (Photo by Leon Kay)

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Car 6053, picking up the tail of a Ravenswood "B" train, passes the Kedzie station house and approaches the platform on August 20, 1970. Note the Prairie School stylings of the Bungalow station house. (Photo by Joe Testagrose)

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Car 6721 leads a Ravenswood "B" train at Kedzie on July 8, 1975. Only 720 6000s were actually made; car 6721 was originally numbered 6454. The platform is the same today, but with new lights. (Photo by Doug Grotjahn, Collection of Joe Testagrose)

Old Kedzie station (1975-2006)

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CTA carpenters quickly restored the Kedzie station after a flash fire destroyed most of the platform and canopied areas. This shot looking northeast shows Kedzie's old shepherd's crook lights, wooden partition and flat-roofed canopy. (Photo from CTA Transit News)

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The Kedzie station circa 1999. The surrounding buildings, crossing gates, platform, and telephone pole all remain, but the station house has been replaced by a nondescript steel and glass fare collection enclosure. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The entrance to the modern Kedzie station, looking north in 1999. The backlit "Use Rapid Transit" sign, a standard installation in most CTA stations in the 1970s and '80s, was removed circa 2000. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The peaked station canopy, with it's simple wooden beams and brackets -- seen here looking east on October 8, 2002 -- is all that's left of the original 1907 station that burned down in 1974. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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After the station opened, an auxiliary entrance/exit was built at Spaulding, the street at the west end of the station. By the CTA era, it was only a part-time entrance, with a switch in the agent's booth that released the rotogate to allow ingress during manned hours. In 1973, Spaulding was closed as an entrance, but retained as an auxiliary exit. The agent's booth was later removed. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Looking east on the Kedzie island platform, car 3338 picks up the rear of a southbound Brown Line train as it enters the Kedzie Avenue grade crossing on July 16, 2000. Note the juxtaposition of the original 1906 wooden platform and canopy and the 1970s steel and glass fare collection area in the background. (Photo by Mike Farrell)

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Peaking out from around the station entrance enclosure, car 3415 leads a Brown Line train into Kedzie station, heading northbound on July 16, 2000. (Photo by Mike Farrell)

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After depositing passengers at Kedzie station, a northbound Brown Line train begins the short final leg of its trip to Kimball on July 16, 2001 with car 3416 trailing. (Photo by Mike Farrell)

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By February 24, 2006, four days after the station closed, crews have removed the plexiglas panels from the station's enclosure and had dismantled the Customer Assistant's booth (which had been on the raised base on the right), seen through the chainlink fence at the sidewalk. The rest of the old station entrance would be removed within days. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Contractors slowly dismantled the old Kedzie station, looking east on February 24, 2006, as CTA flagmen protect the workers from passing trains. The platform lights have already been removed, the resulting holes covered by plywood, and workers are dismantling other parts of the station in the background. A plywood signs with a spray-painted message reminds train operators not to stop at the station. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Just a few days after the station had closed, contractors had already removed the walkway, fencing, and rotogate from the Spaulding auxiliary entrance, seen looking east on February 24, 2006. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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On February 25, 2006, FHP Tectonics crews dismantled the 1907 station canopy. The 2-car canopy was removed by cutting each bay apart into separate pieces with saws, then lifting each bay out with a crane. Here, looking west, the crew has cut the center support posts of the last bay, allowing the roof to be lowered down a bit before the crane will lift it up and clear of the right-of-way. (Photo by Graham Garfield)


New Kedzie station

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The new Kedzie station's modern steel and glass station house, with its arched roofline and tall ceiling, is evident in this artist's conception looking northwest. (Image provided courtesy of the Chicago Transit Authority)

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The "interior" of the new Kedzie station is seen looking west on June 4, 2006 through the chainlink fence at the sidewalk that closed off the work site. The foundation and steel structure are in place, and workers have begun priming and painting the steelwork. Otherwise, the interior was still rough at this stage, with exposed rebar and unfinished floors. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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By the time of this June 4, 2006 view looking east, the steel structure for the new station house and the steel supports and wooden stringers for the platform were in place, and the platform decking was installed. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Looking east on June 4, 2006, the foundation was in place and the steel framework for the entrance enclosure was erected, primed, and painted, and the stairs were installed at the Spaulding auxiliary entrance. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Rather than place benches inside the spacious paid area in the rebuilt Kedzie station house, a decorative "leaning bar" is present along the south wall, seen on August 16, 2006. The leaning bar's gentle, organic curves have an almost Art Nouveau feel. A leaning bar, used in many modern transit facilities around the world, allow passengers to rest while waiting for a train without being able to lie down. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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In the absence of a platform canopy, the rebuilt Kedzie platform has several specially-built shelters along the platform, with arched roofs that reflect the design of the station houses. Still in an unfinished state in this August 16, 2006 view, the roofing and side panels had yet to be installed, with plywood temporarily providing some side enclosure. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Brown Line trains stop in both directions at the new Kedzie station, looking east on August 16, 2006, reopening day. Both Brown Line trains' railcars feature "rail king" ad panels for US Cellular. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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The Spaulding auxiliary entrance is seen looking east on August 16, 2006. The Spaulding entrance is designed to be an unmanned High-Barrier Gate (HBG) entrance, but for the first several months the entrance will be manned to provide a more full-service entrance while nearby Kimball station is closed. As a result, a temporary wooden Customer Assistant booth is installed on the sidewalk in front of the station to give the staff assigned to the entrance someplace to work. (Photo by Graham Garfield)

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Although the Spaulding entrance to Kedzie is designed to be an unmanned High-Barrier Gate (HBG) entrance, as evidenced by the station entrance sign overhead, the entrance as opened on August 16, 2006 had turnstiles and farecard vending machines installed and a Customer Assistant or security guard assigned to provide a more full-service entrance. This provides a better alternative while the nearby Kimball station is closed. After Kimball reopens, this equipment will likely be removed and replaced with HBGs. (Photo by Graham Garfield)