The United Center is getting its own ‘L’ station

Big news for Blackhawks (and Bulls) fans.

The trip to the United Center hasn’t always been easy for those without a car, but that’s going to change soon. The Chicago Transit Authority will announce a new Green Line “L” station at Damen and Lake streets, just 1.5 blocks away from the home of the Blackhawks and Bulls, on Thursday, reports Greg Hinz of Crain’s Chicago Business.

This is huge news for anyone who has attended games at the arena over the years without the benefit of driving, which has its own issues in terms of traffic and parking costs.

The closest “L” stops to the UC are currently nearly a mile away, so this is going to be a significant improvement in terms of ease of accessing the building via public transportation. A lot of people weren’t fans of walking long distances at night following games, especially in the freezing cold, and this will finally give the arena a dedicated train stop.

Design of the station is set to begin this summer, with construction following in the third quarter of 2018 and a projected opening in mid-2020.

The reports says that the CTA will use $50 million in “tax increment financing” to build funds for the new station, which is the same way it paid for stations near Google’s new Midwest headquarters and on Cermak Road near DePaul University’s new basketball arena.

"Today, we close the transit gap and provide local residents and businesses with the new station they have been asking for," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "The new station at Damen and Lake will fill a longstanding need for better transit operations."

So we’re still more than three years until this thing actually opens, assuming no problems building it, but this is big news for anyone who has tried to attend Hawks games without owning a car recently. The lack of easy public transportation to the United Center was one of its biggest disadvantages compared to other facilities in the city.

That won’t be nearly as much of an issue with a proper “L” station less than two blocks from the place, which is definitely good news to us.