It’s probably safe to say that the Avondale neighborhood on the Northwest Side has never seen anything quite like the swooping, airy structure that’s set to replace the boxy Belmont Blue Line subway station entrance and bus terminal next year.
Carol Ross Barney, perhaps best known for the still-evolving River Walk downtown, has designed a “canopy” that will be part of the estimated $15 million project to update the stop.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the design “visionary,” while talking to reporters at the site Monday morning. The design, set amid a sea of flat-roofed retail stores, resembles — based on the sketches — a giant insect wing titled upward.
“This will actually enhance both the architecture vision of Avondale and the city of Chicago,” Emanuel said.
The project is expected to get under way next year and be complete by mid-2018. In addition to the new canopy, the project is expected to improve the bus arrival/departure areas to speed up bus boarding at the site.
The project is the station’s first major renovation since it opened in 1970. The station provided about 1.8 million train rides last year, according to CTA officials.