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.

 David May

La Grange