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.
Accessing Union Station is done by many modes, but each has its own challenges and annoyances.
Over 50 people attended the 4:30 PM presentation of the Union Station master plan in the Union Gallery on Thursday. The Chicago Department of Transportation is the lead agency on this project even though it may have less at stake in the plan. It’s more likely to lead a fair planning process than if Amtrak, the station’s owner, or Metra, the station’s busiest user, led the master plan. After the presentation, visitors were able to speak directly with staff from the stakeholders and partners (see full list at end).
The plan divides goals and objectives into short, medium, and long term ideas.
Two short term projects are already in the works and each has received funding. They are the “Central Area East-West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project” and “Union Station Transportation Center”, which I’ll also call an intermodal center, as it gets people from buses onto trains and vice versa. The BRT project includes bus priority lanes and intersection priority (buses can go before other traffic) on Canal, Clinton, Madison, and Washington (see embedded map). The BRT application also indicates a Madison Street bike lane will be installed (which already happened) and an eastbound bike lane will be “considered”. The intermodal center will include stair, elevator, and escalator access to an existing underground walkway into Union Station. Continue reading The plan for Union Station
Come to the Great Hall at Union Station on Thursday, December 15, 2011, from 4 to 7 PM, for a presentation and open house on the Union Station Master Plan. The Great Hall is in the original Union Station building, at 210 S Canal Street – the meeting will be in the southwest corner. Continue reading Union Station master plan public meeting is Thursday
Hear transportation commissioner Gabe Klein address the audience at the City Club of Chicago about the Chicago Fast Forward Agenda, to be released early 2012. Gabe told me that it’s similar to the Washington, D.C., Department of Transportation (DCDOT) Action Agenda.