By Tracy Swartz, @tracyswartz
5:30 PM CDT, April 21, 2014
Call it the Leonardo DiCaprio of CTA stops.
The Sheridan Red Line station has been passed over again—but not for an Oscar, like Leo. The CTA last week proposed a $1.13 billion overhaul of four North Side stations, from Lawrence to Bryn Mawr, and the accompanying track as part of the first phase of its titanic Red and Purple Line modernization plan.
The announcement left some riders seeing red over the lack of inclusion of the Sheridan stop, often chided for its narrow staircases, antiquated wooden platforms and puddles after rainstorms.
"I feel like we're just the part of Lakeview that gets forgotten about," said Wyl Villacres, 25, who worries about slipping down Sheridan's steep staircases. "No one really wants to take control over the Sheridan stop."
CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said that the Sheridan stop "will definitely be rebuilt," but not in the first phase of the project, which may begin as early as 2017 if the CTA secures $1.7 billion to renovate the stops and create a bypass north of the Belmont station.
That's little comfort to riders who use the Sheridan stop, which has been experiencing growing pains while other Red Line stops have undergone blue-chip repairs.
In 2012, the CTA fixed and beautified seven stops north of Wilson in an $86 million project. Three of those stations—Lawrence, Argyle and Berwyn—are slated to see overhauls in the first phase of this Red Line project.
Elsewhere on the Red Line, the Loyola and Grand stops were recently rehabbed while the Clark/Division stop is getting its due. The CTA last year also renovated nine South Side Red Line stops in a $425 million project.
Meanwhile, Sheridan's disaster twin to the north, Wilson, is slated to see a $203 million overhaul this year. Plans include making the station accessible to riders with disabilities and creating a transfer point for the Purple Line Express.
After those projects are complete, the Sheridan stop will be one of only a few Red Line stops that are not wheelchair-friendly. Since its inception in 1900, the Sheridan stop has seen large-scale renovations in the early 20th century, according to chicago-L.org, a Chicago transit history site.
Two years ago, Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) asked for a commitment to rebuild Sheridan as part of the city's deal with the Cubs to renovate Wrigley Field. The stop ended up not being part of the Wrigley renovations.
A Tunney spokeswoman said the Sheridan stop requires "more intensive engineering" and will need to be designed separately from the first phase of the Red Line project.
Jonathan Skidmore, of Buena Park, said he's upset about the lack of the attention Sheridan has received. He said he has difficulty climbing the stairs to the platform and cringes when rainwater pools in the station.
"I don't understand why [the CTA] skipped over [Sheridan] again," said Skidmore, 38. "It's just disgusting. It's an embarassment to the city."
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