New Lovana S. "Lou" Jones/Bronzeville station is officially dedicated
(May 6, 2011) -
U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush and other officials joined with Metra leaders on Friday to officially dedicate the new Lovana S. “Lou” Jones/Bronzeville Station along the Rock Island Line.
Speakers at the ribbon-cutting ceremony included Rush, Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), Illinois Institute of Technology President John Anderson, Federal Transit Administration Deputy Regional Administrator Rhonda Reed and Bradford Walker, a brother of Jones. Metra leaders who spoke included Larry Huggins, vice chairman of the Metra Board of Directors, and Alex Clifford, Metra CEO.
The new station, at 35th and Federal on the south side of Chicago, offers a new mass transit alternative for White Sox fans going to nearby U.S. Cellular Field, Illinois Institute of Technology students, local workers and neighborhood residents. Trains began stopping at the new station on April 3.
The Metra Board of Directors voted in 2009 to name the stop after Jones, who served the area as a state representative in the Illinois General Assembly for nearly 20 years. She died in 2006. A plaque at the station that was unveiled today describes Jones’ background and praises her tireless work on behalf of her constituents and the state.
“Lou used her political power and grassroots insights to fight for those traditionally locked out of economic opportunity and trapped in poverty,” the plaque reads. “Through her commitment, Lou worked endlessly on behalf of the indigent children, the formerly incarcerated, working-class families and the poor. She helped to remove barriers to education, employment and opportunity for people throughout Illinois.”
The station was funded with $4.9 million in federal money secured by Congressman Rush, a longtime supporter of the project, and an additional $6.8 million from the federal stimulus bill, known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Another plaque noting Congressman Rush’s key role in securing funding for the station was also unveiled today.
“The Lou Jones Metra Station is a long-awaited and greatly appreciated reality,” Congressman Rush said. “It is the culmination of a vision for our community that began to unfold almost two decades ago. I am proud that I was able to secure the federal funding for this project that is completed at a time when rising gasoline prices mean that public transportation is more important than ever to students and hard-working commuters. It is my belief that the station is just the beginning of future growth and development of the 35th street corridor that will provide economic development opportunities for residents of the First Congressional District for years to come.”
He added, “I would like to commend Metra on its work and its ability to gear up quickly to take immediate advantage of the federal dollars for this project.”
The new fully accessible station features heated ramps, stairways, eight-car platforms, heated platform shelters, bicycle racks, benches, Metra’s audio and visual information system, lighting and landscaping.
In addition to U.S. Cellular Field to the west and IIT to the east, the station also serves Chicago Police Headquarters, De La Salle Institute and the redeveloping Stateway Gardens housing complex. The station also provides a convenient link between Metra service and the CTA, which has stops at 35th St. on its Red and Green lines.