Metra spends $1 million on the design of the Congress Park modernization

The board of Metra, the commuter rail division of the Regional Transportation Authority, voted 9-0 on June 15 to add seven projects, including one at its Congress Park station in Brookfield, to its 2022 capital plan after receiving over $60 million. new funds from the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Illinois Department of Transportation.

According to a June 15 memo from Metra’s board of directors from CEO/executive director Jim Derwinski, Metra will allocate $1 million to State of Good Repair program funds in 2022 for “design concepts and environmental studies.” to make Congress Park station accessible to people with disabilities. .

There is little detailed information on how long it would take to complete such preliminary engineering, and a spokesperson for Metra told the Landmark that there is not yet a source of funding for construction. such a project.

However, the funding means that Metra will start designing such improvements much sooner than originally thought.

“The money we programmed [June 15] will help fund the very beginning of the process, covering design concepts and environmental studies, for improvements to the station,” said Metra spokesman Michael Gillis. “We don’t have further details or a timeline for the process.”

Making the station, accessible only by stairs, wheelchair accessible would be part of a larger plan to improve and beautify the Metra stop, one of three in Brookfield and the only one in the village from which trains Metra run express to Union Station in Chicago seven times a weekday.

The station is also the first stop from Union Station for six weekday afternoon/evening express trains. Metra trains do not stop at Congress Park on weekends or holidays.

In 2020, the Village of Brookfield launched the first phase of a multi-phase effort to improve the area in and around Congress Park Station, building a 21-space commuter parking lot within the right-of-way. Burlington Avenue west of DuBois Boulevard.

The village also improved sidewalks, installed covered bicycle parking near the station, and made improvements to the tunnel, stairs and platform shelters. The project cost about $340,000 and was funded through a combination of federal Community Development Block Grant funds and money from the Congress Park TIF District, which includes the public right-of-way south of the station.

Meanwhile, the Landmark has learned that the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad, owner of the rail right-of-way, intends to rebuild the deteriorated concrete retaining wall on the south side of the railroad embankment, facing at Burlington Avenue later this year.

BNSF plans obtained by the Landmark show the railroad intends to reinforce the wall by constructing a berm that slopes south from the top of the embankment. A rendering shows that Brookfield plans to provide a paved plaza/landing area in front of the station.

No date has been given for the start of this work.

Abdul J. Gaspar