By DIANE TURNER-HURNS
Journal & Topics Reporter
The first wave of improvements to Rosemont's CTA Blue Line Station and parking lot off River Road, which serves nearly 6,000 commuters a day, may begin with a pavement update and reconfiguration of the entrance area in early 2016.
While plans for a massive multi-million dollar renovation of the station built in 1983 continue to be developed, efforts to overhaul the existing parking lot, drop-off, taxi and bus pickup area and pedestrian walkways are being designed.
“Pace, the RTA, Cook County and the tollway are participating in this project to provide pavement updates as well as design improvements to that entry area,” Burke Engineering Engineer Mark Wrzeszcz told the Journal & Topics. “That area needs upgrading. This project will serve as an interim project while the overall project is being designed.” Wrzeszcz serves as Rosemont's engineer and as the village's liaison on this project.
The cost for this portion of the project is estimated around $800,000, Wrzeszcz said. He said planning just begun and could be competed this September. The plan would include reconfiguring parking islands, extending the bus drop-off, pickup areas and enhancing safety. Construction could begin in early 2016, weather permitting.
Currently, when one pulls into the station, to the left is a large street-level parking lot. To the right are the pickup and drop-off areas where vehicles may wait for passengers temporarily. Taxis and buses service commuters at this spot.
Now, when commuters exit the CTA station or a bus, they fan out into all the areas looking for their ride, car, bike or bus to take them to their next destination.
“This interim improvement could greatly enhance safety,” Wrzeszcz said. “This initial project will help the area while the stakeholders look at the big picture plan which could be five years down the road and could include a new CTA station.”
Due to Rosemont’s growth in business and entertainment, the transit station and nearby parking area use continues to spiral upwards, according to officials.
As reported last March, more commuters are expected to use the station once new Pace bus lanes are completed as part of the Interstate 90 widening project. As a result, transportation officials are reviewing plans to revamp the area. Last February, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) received financial proposals to identify what could feasibly be done to update the station.
“Currently, the station is running at 90-93% capacity everyday. That’s pretty full,” Wrzeszcz told the Journal & Topics in March. “It needs to be revamped. One possibility could be to add a parking structure, upgrade pedestrian walkways and the drop-off area for all users including individual drivers, taxis, buses and bicyclists.”
Rosemont is a top intermodal transfer point for reverse commuters, RTA officials say, and also serves as a critical access point to Rosemont’s offices, hotels, convention center, arena, theatre and entertainment centers.
The station also serves as a pickup and drop-off point for the Rosemont Pace shuttle bus.
Cook County, the Illinois Tollway and Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) own the land the station is on along River Road between I-90 and I-190.
“Throughout the process we will work to make sure any plans approved meet village code and will review other needs,” Wrzeszcz said. “It will be good for the village, residents, commuters, businesses and the growing number of visitors.”