Proposal to improve Main Street transit stations moves to City Council

Julian Gerez, Assistant City Editor

Evanston officials on the Plan Commission unanimously voted to send to City Council a proposal to improve the public transportation stations near the intersection of Main Street and Chicago Avenue.

The study, started in 2013 by Evanston and the Regional Transportation Authority, recommends improvements to both the Chicago Transit Authority and Metra Main Street stations, said Damir Latinovic, the Evanston neighborhood and land use planner. 

“The study would engage both the RTA, the city of Evanston and other stake holders to identify a unified vision for future transit improvements,” he said.

City officials reacted positively to most aspects of the plan, which would increase accessibility to the stations.

Scott Peters, who chairs the Plan Commission, said he supported the study’s proposed improvements to signage, curbs, cross walks and bike racks.

However, he raised concerns about the cost of some parts of the plan, including a tunnel for transferring between the CTA and Metra lines.

“We have a place for transferring between two lines on Davis Street that is well-developed,” he said. “I’m not persuaded that (this) is worth the expense of the city.”

Latinovic said the study would offer a better vision for what has been done at the station.

“This is by no means a recommendation or any kind of policy that would require the city or public works or anybody else to spend any money,” he said. “But if the time comes … where they have funding available for really small scale improvements … these types of studies had to have taken place.”

The report was first presented to Evanston’s plan commission April 9.

(Evanston moves forward with Main Street transportation project)

Jim Ford, a member of the plan commission, praised the study.

“The study moves us in a good direction,” he said. “We would encourage the city and the CTA to move forward.”

Thomas Coleman, a member of the consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, which was contracted to undertake the study, said that as an Evanston resident, he was honored to work for the community. The study acts as a basis for how to move forward, he said.

“Throughout this whole process, the CTA was involved with looking at the plans,” Coleman said. “The CTA looked at all these options as a vision for when the next step comes, which may be within the next five years.”

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