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CTA affords great views, but alas, not artwork

Essen_station_1 Gapersblock.com reported last week on a Web site chronicling fabulous artworks on view in train stations around the world -- and the stations themselves as works of art, as pictured here.

Needless to say, the CTA is not on the list.  Though they have done a nice job with the Chicago Avenue station.

The CTA did make the list of Metros with a View. Interestingly, one of the photos on that page shows the LaSalle/Van Buren El stop with the lovely Metropolitan Correctional Center in the background.

The CTA also offers lots of other cool El-level views, some of which might actually land you in that correctional center.


The Chicago station reminded me of a bathroom after they renovated it, what with it's light teal square tiles. Lake will look the same whenever that's done. Don't get me wrong ... they're nicer than the way they were, and I'd be happy if my Thorndale stop was clean and characterless, but I wish they had put a little more thought/care into the redesign.

For character, you have to look out the window in this city. And there's plenty. I especially like the Orange Line in from Midway and the Blue Line out until it starts running down the middle of the Edens.

The Jackson stop on the Red Line needs to be mentioned when discussing new stations. The renovation of the platform is fantastic.

The Blue Line on the Edens would be the headline story on the news seeing as the tracks it should be on run down the middle of the Kennedy.

Here's a link to some transit art:


The best view is from a train to Midway as it makes the turn at 54th and Knox, just a few blocks from the little airport. The L tracks have to go over the Belt RR tracks and occasionally there will be a plane landing on the runway that's parallel to the L. The train is actually higher than the plane.
Incredibly cool!

The new station renovations are ok, but they could have done a better job. I think the blue & red tiles are a bit bland. I'm sure they could have done a lot nicer job for less $$. Those mosaic tiles weren't cheap! I wouldn't be surpried if the whole subway renovation project was an inside job w/the corrupt city govt!

For interesting station architecture, I'd go with the O'Hare terminal on the Blue line. It certainly doesn't like like any other CTA station


Thanks for the link to Metros Bits site. I saw one of the Paris Metro stations enterences (https://mic-ro.com/metro/metroart.html#Paris). I seem to recall that one of those decrotive staircase enterences was given to the City of Chicago. Instead of being used for the State S.t or Dearborn subways it was installed at one of the Meta Electic (aka the IC)/South Shore stations on Michigan. Does anyone know more about this?

Are there any Metra or Pace rider blogs?

there are pace riders?

Holy cow, I never realized in all my years of coming into Chicago, that that building was a prison! I just never paid it any real attention, I guess!

I wonder if there's anyway we can petition the mayor's office and the CTA to possibly allow a rotating art exhibit of Chicago artists at the CTA stops... I know that would definitely liven up some of the areas, and would be a good way for new artists to get known rather quickly.

Brian, that's to much of a bright idea for the CTA to actually do it.

The redesigned green and blue line stations are fine with me in general, nothing spectacular but still solid. However, aesthetically, the subway renovations are just horrible.

I agree with Mike, the tiles remind me of a restroom, specifically a restroom at an 80s era McDonalds. The bright colors, rounded trim, tacky tiles...hideous. Really, everything is ugly, from the clunky lighting and signage, to the generic flooring.

Yes, it IS an improvement over the deteriorating stations of old, but it's still a massive opportunity squandered. And don't give me a line like "Well, it's a subway station, what do you expect?". I've seen plenty of examples of more tasteful transit designs to know that the CTA could have done far better.

However, the cheesiness of the various elements gives rise to the hilarious mental image of Frank Kruesi and Carole Brown sitting on a sofa, looking at swatches together over coffee. Aww, how cute...

jc: The subways ARE owned by the corrupt city government. The CTA is simply chartered to provide service to them. The renovations are being commissioned by CDOT, not CTA.

Not that the process would have been any less corrupt if it were being headed by CTA, but I digress. :)

There are not willing Pace riders. There are only those who have no choice.

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