By Oscar Corral
TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER
Date of Publication: August 7, 1998
Source: Chicago Tribune
The Chicago Transit Authority will open seven station entrances previously closed or used only as exits at CTA rail stations.
The CTA's new fare-collection system allows the stations to be run with fewer employees. All of the stations will be fitted with rotating, high-barrier gates, which are fully automated and reach from floor to ceiling to prevent turnstile hopping and reduce the number of employees needed. Officials said the gates are expected to save the CTA $1.6 million a year at the reopened entrances.
One of the entrances--the Blue Line's Damen access at the Medical Center stop near Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center--has been out of use for 25 years.
The reopenings will increase access to areas of high commercial use, such as hospitals, Malcolm X College and the United Center.
The entrances were closed because of high crime and low revenues during the last 30 years. But CTA President Frank Kruesi said new lights, reflective paint, see-through panels on the ramp and the new floor-to-ceiling, computerized barrier gates will curb the setbacks of the past.
Some of the entrances are scheduled to reopen in September. They are the Pulaski Road side of the Irving Park station on the Blue Line; Lunt Avenue at the north end of the Red Line station at Morse; the East Avenue entrance near the Oak Park Avenue station of the Blue Line; and the Ashland/Lake entrance on the Green Line.
Two areas on the Blue Line's Medical Center station--at Paulina and at Damen--will be converted to allow entry. Also, the Lake/Wells entrance and exit for the Clark/Lake station on the Blue Line will allow entrance at all hours instead of just during afternoon rush hours.
The $1 million renovation project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.