The Rosemont platform, looking east in August 1999. The name signs are new, not only conforming to the new colors and specifications, but also including roses -- the symbol of the Village of Rosemont -- on the line color panels. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
River Road and the Kennedy Expressway, Village of Rosemont
Blue Line: O'Hare
Park & Ride: 736 spaces
Address: 5801 N. River Road
Established: February 27, 1983
Original Line: West-Northwest Route, O'Hare branch
Previous Names: River Road
Status: In Use
Originally called River Road, Rosemont was designed by the firm of Metz, Train and Youngren with the intent to "create a distinctive movement experience for the rider." The post and beam construction is reminiscent of the work of noted architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The platform canopy contains a series of skylights to let in natural light. The platform is actually wedge-shaped and the skylights get closer together as they widen, emphasizing the forced perspective and providing more natural light at the station house end (on the west). A tunnel under the westbound (railroad "northbound") track houses the fare controls and connects the entrance to the station with the vertical access connections to the platform -- a pair of stairways, a pair of escalators, and an elevator.
The station complex includes a bus terminal in front of the rail station entrance, a kiss & ride drop-off/pick-up area, and a park & ride lot surrounding the bus terminal to the east and north.
River Road Ring, seen over the courtyard at the center of Rosemont station. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
As with the other two O'Hare Extension stations that opened in 1983, the station included specially-designed artwork for the facility, an early example of an art component being included in a transit infrastructure project. Rosemont received a wood sculpture by Martin Puryear, a well-known artist known for his devotion to traditional craft, that elegantly described the open-air space within the structure of Rosemont station. The River Road Ring, whose name was derived from the station's original name, was a visually seamless arc of polished wood culminating in overlapping ends at the top of its tilted radius, which connected the upper and lower levels of the transportation facility. Wood and other natural materials are common in Puryear's work, and like the biomorphic forms he creates, reflect his interest in biology, nature and landscape. River Road Ring was a particularly dynamic example of Puryear's talent for integrating the natural and the man-made. The sculpture was removed in 2011 due to deterioration of the piece, owing to the materials used and the location of its installation. The artwork could not have been repaired and would have needed to be recreated, which was not financially feasible.
This was the terminal of the O'Hare branch for over a year until the terminal at the airport was completed. The station was named "Rosemont" during planning stages, but it was felt that the names of the rapid transit stations should not "advertise" the other cities; thus, when this station opened in 1983, the station was named "River Road" rather than "Rosemont". However, the station's name was changed to "Rosemont" in summer 1995 -- about the same time at Skokie and Forest Park terminals were also renamed from their streets to the suburbs they are in -- concurrent with the installation of gray-background Green Line Graphic Standard station name signs on the platform and the name being changed on the system map brochure. The new signs included little graphics of roses (the Rosemont city seal) in the colored tabs at the ends of the sign, whose color(s) designate which line the station's on. The east-west coordinate on the station name signs was also changed at the same time from 9400W on the original KDR-type signs to 10500W on the new signs, though it is not clear why.
One possible alignment for the extension of the Blue line past O'Hare has the new tracks splitting off the line after this station due to the difficulty of extending the subterranean tunnel further into the O'Hare International Airport complex. This arrangement would make Rosemont a busy transfer station for passengers wishing to board trains going to O'Hare instead of Schaumburg. This, however, is not the preferred option.
In September 2004, Dunkin' Donuts, the coffee and baked goods chain, opened five new concessions in CTA stations around the "L" system. One such new concession was located at Rosemont station. "This is the first major concerted effort to open a significant number of Dunkin' Donuts stores in CTA stations," said Mike Lavigne, director of development for Dunkin' Donuts. All new Dunkin' Donuts/CTA station stores were scheduled to be full-service.
During Autumn 2004 and Spring 2005, several "L" stations got new station name signs. As part of a multi-station program, twelve facilities in all on the Blue, Purple, Red, Orange, and Green lines received new, Green Line Graphic Standard station name signs, supplementing the new signs that were installed at Rosemont in the 1990s. The new signs were added at additional locations outside the tracks, facing to the platform, for ADA compliance. The new additional station name signs at Rosemont are hung off the overhead beams outside the tracks, over the jersey barriers between the "L" right-of-way and the expressway shoulder. Installation at all stations was complete by the end of November 2004. Fabrication and installation of the signs was performed by contractor Western Remac.
Bus Terminal Renovation
In 2016, Cook County and Pace, in coordination with the CTA, planned a renovation of the bus terminal, kiss & ride and access road areas at the Rosemont Transit Center to improve the facility and prepare it for new planned Pace bus services. The facility needs to be modernized to accommodate new Pace express buses that will be traveling on the widened Jane Addams Tollway (I-90), according to Cook County Superintendent of Transportation and Highways John Yonan. One major change will be moving the Pace bus bays to the west and building a new, more visible sidewalk for pedestrians who are using the adjoining park & ride lot. Other planned upgrades include marked crosswalks for riders heading from buses to the station or vice versa; designated stopping areas for the numerous shuttle buses that drop off and pick up passengers at the transit center; and an improved kiss & ride drop-off and pick-up area. The CTA is also planning to resurface the parking lot, which the Authority operates. Pace will reimburse Cook County, which owns the property, for the work.1
The $1.5 million project was planned to start in June 2016. By late summer, work was underway to rebuild the passenger pickup and drop-off areas, install new curbs, and expand basins and walkways, which was anticipated to be completed as early as late September. In October construction of new bus bays and islands was expected to begin. Construction should be completed by December 12, 2016.2
Rosemont is an intermodal facility in many ways. In addition to a large park & ride (behind the camera) and kiss & ride, a large bus terminal is provided. Thirteen different local and express Pace bus routes serve the station from the northwest and west suburbs and bring customers to the station doorstep in one of the bus bays under the canopy seen here looking southwest on September 27, 2002. The entrance to the station is under the bus terminal canopy on the left (in the (embankment), while the station platform is visible on the far left. For a larger view, click here. (Photo by Graham Garfield)
* When the station opened as River Road in 1983, the station name signs gave the east-west coordinate as 9400W, although current signs give it as 10500W.
1. Pyke, Marni. "Rosemont CTA station getting $1.5 million upgrade" Daily Herald, May 11, 2016.
2. "Transit Center Construction Expected To Wrap By December", Journal & Topics Newspapers, September 3, 2016.