Metra broke ground today on a new station in Chicago at 35th St. along the Rock Island line, a project that promises another mass transit alternative for White Sox fans, Illinois Institute of Technology students, local workers and neighborhood residents.
The station is being funded with $4.9 million in federal money secured by U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Chicago), 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. Construction is expected to be completed by the fall of 2010.
“I supported the economic recovery package because I believed that money and resources would come to Illinois to help the people and communities I represent,” said Rep. Rush. “This Metra station is one such project that will benefit both students and commuters going back and forth to work. It will open doors for employment and contracting opportunities for hardworking people in the 1st Congressional District who are struggling economically in these hard times.”
“We are happy to offer our riders this new station,” said Philip A. Pagano, executive director of Metra. “We think it will fill a big need for commuters, area students, workers, and residents of the growing Bridgeport and Bronzeville neighborhoods.”
The Metra Board of Directors voted earlier this month to name the stop the Lovana S. “Lou” Jones/Bronzeville Station, after the longtime Assistant Majority Leader for the State of Illinois who represented the area for nearly 20 years. She died in 2006.
IIT provided Metra an easement on its property to facilitate the construction of the station.
“We are delighted to cooperate with Metra to build a new station at 35th Street,” said John Anderson, president of IIT. “It will provide a new way for our students, faculty, staff and visitors to come to our campus, as well as provide access to the surrounding communities of Bronzeville and Bridgeport.”
In addition to U.S. Cellular Field to the west and IIT to the east, the station also will serve Chicago Police Headquarters, De La Salle Institute and the redeveloping Stateway Gardens housing complex. And it will serve anyone wanting to avoid frequent traffic congestion on the Dan Ryan Expy. to get to the area.
The station also will provide a convenient link between CTA and Metra service on the South Side. The Rock Island line’s principal market has been to deliver far south side and south suburban residents to the downtown area, with no connection to the near south side. The CTA provides extensive service to the near south side, including stops at 35th St. on the Green and Red lines, but does not serve the far south side and suburbs. A new Metra station at 35th St. will therefore give both CTA and Metra riders access to more extensive service.
The new, fully accessible station will feature heated ramps, stairways, eight-car platforms, heated platform shelters, bicycle racks, benches, Metra’s audio and visual information system, lighting and landscaping.
Metra is receiving $140.9 million as its share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Metra estimates that using federal stimulus dollars on this station will create about 100 jobs. Other Metra projects that are being funded with these dollars include the re-manufacture of locomotives, bridge replacements as well as station additions, renovations and parking expansions.