New Morgan 'L' Station opens
Trains finally stopping at finished station on Green and Pink lines
05/23/2012 10:00 PM
The heart of the West Loop finally has an ‘L’ station.
After more than a year and a half of construction and infrastructure work, the new Morgan Street station on the Green and Pink lines finally opened to little fanfare last Friday morning, May 18.
Built at a projected cost of $38 million, the station is unlike any other in the CTA system. The towering glass and steel box rises above the low-lying industrial buildings that surround it. At night, it lights up like a giant white night light, distinguishing itself from the yellow light of street lights that surround it.
On the platforms, the station sports modern flat-panel displays showing the next train arrival times, but they’re only half the height of regular screens. Fluorescent lights are perfect cylinders, the steel walls punctured with holes like Swiss cheese. Granite lines the floors outside the turnstiles.
Roger Romanelli, head of the Randolph/Fulton Market Association, said the station will help the West Loop immensely — both industrial employees and folks looking to eat and shop.
“It’s a beautiful opportunity. It’s a critical transportation asset,” Romanelli said. “It should have an immediate impact for employees and customers.”
On top of serving the West Loop’s bustling restaurant scene, it should spur even more development in the near future, he said.
“It should help especially for Lake Street, because the Lake Street structure is so unique. You’ve got this Dark Knight, Blues Brothers atmosphere,” he said. “It’s been a bit of a challenge to develop there with all the girders. The ‘L’ station will be important to encouraging industrial but also office and retail development.”
It’s a great payoff, Romanelli said, especially because the people it’ll benefit the most are the folks who paid for the station. Since the project was funded with tax increment financing dollars, the money came from a pool of cash siphoned off of locals’ property taxes since 1998.
“It’s opportunity to salute the city but also businesses and residents that are paying their property taxes into the Kinzie TIF,” Romanelli said. “Now it’s our goal to make it most successful station on the whole CTA system.”
For West Loop residents Jackie Giddy and Eleazar Eusebio, the new station will change their commuting patterns. Living nearby on Aberdeen Street, the station is just steps from their door.
“This is really nice, actually,” Eusibio said. “Now I don’t have to bike downtown. The convenience is incredible.”
Not everyone seems to know the station’s open, yet, though. As Chicago Journal was checking out the station Monday evening, a Pink Line train sped by without stopping.
A formal grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Thursday morning, May 24 at 11 a.m.