A Canopy Built to Protect
“Early design considerations and the selection of Hot Dip Galvanizing was strongly shaped by corrosion control over design life, ingenuity in use of galvanizing, final appearance and the strong visible zinc finish on the terminal canopy structure.”
Partially covered in eye-popping red panels and largely enclosed by glass and galvanized steel, the new South Terminal rises above the Dan Ryan Expressway like a phoenix. The striking $280 million terminal features highly visible hot-dip galvanized canopy arms surrounding the entire facility and helps protect riders from the rain, snow, wind and biting temperatures of Chicago. The Chicago Transit Association’s 95th/Dan Ryan Station is a critical piece of the CTA's Red Line. It connects far south side communities to job centers throughout the region and serves as a transit gateway for the south side and suburbs.
Early design considerations and the selection of hot-dip galvanizing was strongly shaped by corrosion control over design life, ingenuity in use of galvanizing, final appearance and the strong, visible zinc finish on the terminal canopy structure. Cost effectiveness of hot-dip galvanizing was also paramount as this project required a quick turnaround, minimizing road closures in the middle of the night.
The Red Line has the highest ridership of any "L" line, and the 95th/Dan Ryan Station is one of the CTA's busiest stations. Originally built in 1969, the station serves more than 20,000 bus and rail passengers a day with 24/7 Red Line service plus 1,000 CTA and PACE bus trips. The city estimates that there are roughly 300,000 people who live within walking distance of the bus routes serving the terminal.
The station has been transformed into a modern, multi-modal transportation hub that the city will be proud of and it plans to build momentum for Federal & State funding of the CTA’s proposed $2.3 bil extension of the Red Line. It also provides a solution to problems associated with far south side residents facing prohibitive commute time to the city for employment. Important safety enhancements were also incorporated with widened platforms and bus bays for improved passenger flow and ease of congestion.
A fascinating aspect of the project was the decision to include a “living art” component. The arts installation includes a radio DJ booth and features live artists mixing music, as well as oral histories. Internationally recognized local artist, Theaster Gates, is creating the largest public art installation in the CTA’s collection at the station. One project titled “America, America” consists of two large tapestries, made from colorful strips of fire hoses and galvanized steel. The choice of materials refers to hoses turned on marchers during the African American civil rights movement and bars of jail cells. The CTA says the tapestries “reflect the importance of the civil rights movement and the struggle and acknowledgement that the work of equity and equality is an ongoing effort not carried by one people, but by all.”