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McCormick Green Line stop opens

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South Loop residents and convention-goers alike make use of the new Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line stop. The stop opened Feb. 8 after more than two years of construction, closing a nearly two-mile gap on the line. (Vanessa Bell / The DePaulia)

South Loop residents and convention-goers alike make use of the new Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line stop. The stop opened Feb. 8 after more than two years of construction, closing a nearly two-mile gap on the line. (Vanessa Bell / The DePaulia)

Getting to and from the South Loop will be easier with the opening of the McCormick-Cermak stop on the CTA Green Line, just four blocks from McCormick Place and the soon-to-be DePaul Arena.

Before the opening, a gap of more than two miles separated Roosevelt and 35-Bronzeville-IIT. This left Green Line commuters headed to McCormick with the options of either switching to the Red Line somewhere between State and Lake and Roosevelt, or taking a bus. For those who work in the area, not having to switch trains during the evening rush is a relief.

According to CTA employee Robert Faulkner, it took construction workers about a year and a half to get the stop up and running.

“Most of the construction was done on the weekends or later in the evening past the rush hour,” Faulkner said. “You could take a shuttle from 35th to Roosevelt.”

Faulkner said the main draw was, of course, McCormick Place, but there are a few other places that Green Line riders could get to more conveniently. Soon, that will be the arena.

The area offers dining options for visitors and future DePaul basketball fans like Reggie’s Rock Club located right beneath the train stop, a White Castle and a few mom-and-pop restaurants nearby. The Red Line Cermak is still within walking distance, so commuters can also use this stop as an alternative route to Chinatown. Currently the neighborhood is still expanding, so there is construction at nearly every turn.

The station is handicap accessible and has heating lamps on the platform and at the turnstiles. Along the front of each entrance are bike racks, and Divvy bikes line the Cermak side entrance. The bikes cut the commute to the arena from 15 minutes to about seven.

McCormick-Cermak features an arched canopy adorned with art pieces from Afro-Futurist painter Hebru Brantley. Brantley, who is often compared to Jean Michael-Basquiat, has paintings of the stop that depicts the history of the nearby Motor Row.

DePaul senior David Mabry was on the platform with a friend taking pictures of the paintings. “I’m getting pictures for myself,” Mabry said, “because, this is a new place and the Green Line doesn’t get that much attention.”

Construction worker Edward Frankowski worked on the team that brought the stop to life and said it isn’t the only stop getting attention. Frankowski said that the newest stop affecting the Green Line will be at Washington and Wabash. The new station will consolidate the Randolph and Madison stops in the Loop in order to free up the clutter between the Pink, Brown, Purple and Orange Line trains.

For students traveling to the new DePaul Arena from the Lincoln Park campus, the trip will take about 35 minutes including a transfer from the Red or Brown Line to the Green Line. For students commuting from the Loop, the trip is only nine minutes. Overall, the new Green Line station makes the trip to the arena about 10 minutes shorter than coming from the Red Line.

Construction of the new arena is slated to start later this year and should be up and running by 2017.

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McCormick Green Line stop opens