City, Metra officials start planning for $1 billion Fulton Market area station

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Robert Haugland, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Metra and Chicago municipal officials have started the wheels turning for a new Fulton Market district station– a project that could cost about $1 billion.

Crain’s Chicago Business reports that a virtual meeting has been scheduled for mid-October to talk about the proposed station serving about 80,000 riders a day commuting on Metra’s west, northwest and southwest lines.

The virtual meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Oct. 12.  You can register to attend by clicking on this link.

Writer Greg Hinze says the location of the new station hasn’t been determined,” but it probably would be around Ashland Avenue, potentially a little bit to the east or west.”

Local 27 Ward Ald. Walter Burnett, who is coordinating the session with the Chicago’s Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Chicago Department of Planning and Development, said that while some things will have to be worked out, “this thing is bigger than this community  It’s important to the city and the state.”

Some businesses in the area even have offered to pay part of the cost, he told Crain’s.

The proposed station is part of a much larger project pushed by Metra to build a bridge or flyover at roughly Western Avenue allowing some trains on some lines to pass over other lines, avoiding at-grade congestion.

“This is the busiest junction in our system, by far,” Crain’s quoted a Metra spokesperson as saying. “It’s a major choke point.”

The Metra representative said it may take at least a decade to finalize decisions, design the project, seek funds and actually complete the project. He said that it’s not yet clear whether the station project could be separated from the rail work and proceed more quickly, he said.

“This analysis is evaluating potential station locations within the area, preparing multimodal access strategies and urban design recommendations for the feasible station location, and outlining a coordinated implementation strategy and timeline,” the city said in a statement.

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