Paul Nowicki, assistant vice president of government and policy at BNSF and MPC board member, speaks before breakfast on one of his company’s executive inspection trains. Photos by Ryan Griffin-Stegink, courtesy of Metropolitan Planning Council.
I had breakfast this morning with planning and railroad industry folks on a BNSF Railway train built a few decades ago to celebrate the release of the Chicago Department of Transportation’s Union Station Master Plan Study. The breakfast was hosted by BNSF (operator of the Metra BNSF Railway to Aurora, Illinois) and Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), one of the plan’s many partners.
There was a public meeting about the Master Plan in December 2011 and CDOT collected feedback from the public about its intentions to increase capacity, enhance the flow of and general experience for passengers, among other upgrades. The plan divides investments into three parts: short, medium, and long term.
Short term investments are already underway. They comprise the Central Loop BRT, the Union Station bus transfer center for CTA buses (shuttle and Megabus are a distant possibility as CTA’s needs must come first), and reconstructing the Canal Street viaduct from Madison to Taylor Streets.