Several years ago, the village of Brookfield created a TIF District adjacent to the Congress Park Metra stop to attract a Transit Oriented Development. With the old Moose lodge demolished, the site now awaits a developer. Likely components are retail on Ogden and apartments to the north.
What is needed is a third component: the transit part. The village should partner with Metra, CMAP, RTA and the to-be-selected developer to build a small train station building next to the tunnel that leads to the stairs to the platforms above. And to construct a covered drop-off lane next to the station, commuter parking connected to the station by a canopied walk, and a bicycle parking area under a protecting roof.
A 14-by 24-foot station would provide enough space to protect the riders waiting for trains in the morning. Much better than waiting in the tunnel or the bus stop-style shelters up on the platform.
If the 336 square foot station cost $200 per square foot to design and build, that is only $67,200. The new covered drop-off lane, sidewalks with canopies, bicycles shelter and parking lot could be another $150,000. If transportation grants paid half the cost, the TIF District would be responsible for about $110,000: only $13,600 per year for a 10-year bond.
These improvements would not only be a convenience for the riders. Providing these facilities would attract more riders. Potential tenants of the new development would see a real connection to the transit amenity.
And a “real” Congress Park Metra station would be a symbol that the entire neighborhood is an up-and-coming community, whose attributes include not only reasonably priced homes, excellent schools, and numerous local businesses, but the best commute from the suburbs to jobs in flourishing downtown Chicago.