Transit Briefs: CDOT and CTA; NJ Transit

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

The Chicago (Ill.) Department of Transportation (CDOT) and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) have released preliminary design plans for modernizing the 100-year-old State/Lake station; and New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit) has partnered with Waze, a traffic navigation mobile app, to improve safety at highway/rail grade crossings in the state.

CDOT, on behalf of CTA, is leading design and construction of the $180 million State/Lake station project. On June 9, it unveiled the preliminary design, by TranSystems/Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), which features platforms that are double the current width; a full-coverage, glass canopy; a walkway connecting the inner and outer platforms; four elevators located at each corner of State and Lake to ensure accessibility; and improved connectivity between the elevated lines of the downtown Loop and the underground Red Line on State Street. The design also retains original station elements, such as salvaged posts and railings that will frame vending and customer assistance kiosks.

“The bold architectural design is in keeping with recent signature stations, such as the 95th Street Terminal, the Washington/Wabash station and the Damen Green Line station, which will begin construction later this year,” CTA reported.

To date, the State/Lake project has been awarded $11 million in engineering and design funding and $119 million in construction funding through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, according to CTA, which added that the city of Chicago is seeking additional funding and CDOT is going through the NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process. Once the design process is complete and full funding is obtained, CTA said it will take about three years to complete construction.

In 2019, the station was the second busiest on the Loop ‘L,’ with more than 3.7 million annual entries.

“The design for the new State and Lake CTA station provides a first-class, fully accessible new gateway serving transit riders from every corner of Chicago at this historic intersection in the center of the city,” CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi said. “The investment in this light-filled new transit hub sends a strong message that Chicago’s downtown is coming back better than ever from the challenges we’ve faced in the last year.”

In partnership with NJ Transit, Waze has integrated a railroad crossing warning feature on its app to alert users and remind them to proceed with caution. The app is available on iOS and Android devices.

“We are thrilled to have partnered with NJ Transit to ensure over 300 railroad crossings across the state are highlighted on the Waze map,” said Andrew Stober, Head of Public Sector Partnerships and Carpool for Waze.

“As our society becomes more and more dependent on technology, partnerships like the one with Waze can bring enhanced safety awareness of NJ Transit operations directly to motorists,” NJ Transit Senior Vice President and Chief Safety Officer Brian Lapp said.

“NJ Transit is committed to leveraging technology to improve safety, and this partnership with Waze complements our joint study with Rutgers University we announced in December to improve pedestrian detection at rail crossings,” NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin S. Corbett said. “Working together, these new technologies could ultimately save lives.”

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