With a firm commitment of more than $560,000 in hand from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the village of Riverside will reconstruct its main commuter parking lot, located just west of the downtown Metra platform, later this year.

In doing so, the village will tear out the asphalt and replace it completely with permeable brick pavers.

While the project will cost significantly more than simply resurfacing the lot with a new layer of asphalt, the useful life of a brick paver lot is significantly longer. According to Orion Galey, the village’s engineer, an asphalt resurface would have cost about $400,000. The budget for the concrete brick paver lot is estimated at $1.2 million.

But while an asphalt lot has a useful life of about 15 years, the brick pavers have a useful life of 50 years, said Galey.

In addition, the decision to go with a brick paver lot has also netted Riverside almost $900,000 in grant funding.

Last week, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago confirmed it was earmarking $560,615 toward the project.

The West Suburban Mass Transit District previously awarded a $325,000 grant to the village for use on various train station area improvements, including the new “green” parking lot.

As a result, the village of Riverside’s contribution toward the new, roughly 37,000-square-foot brick paver commuter parking lot will be about $315,000 – less than it would have had to pony up for an asphalt lot.

The project encompasses the main commuter lot immediately west of the train station and does not include the additional strip of asphalt that runs behind the Riverside Swim Club. 

While there had been some thought of lowering costs by paving portions of the lot with impermeable concrete bricks, as was done at the village’s other green parking lot at 61-63 E. Burlington Street, Galey said the entire commuter parking lot will be permeable pavers.

The lot will be able to detain about 224,000 gallons of storm water, which will be filtered into the ground slowly instead of sheet draining the storm water into the sewer system.

A concept drawing of the proposed paver lot indicates that it will have 89 parking spaces plus three handicapped-accessible spaces. Galey said that the present concept could be altered to reduce the number of curb cuts along Bloomingbank Road into the parking lot from two to one.

In the park area immediately east of the parking lot will be a 6,600-square-foot rain garden featuring native plants, which will also aid in diminishing storm water runoff.

Construction on the parking lot is expected to start after Labor Day and will be completed in about 12 weeks, Galey said.

Village President Ben Sells said that the village is reaching out to the Riverside Swim Club, which closes for the season on Labor Day, to see if an arrangement can be made for commuters to use their parking lot while work is being done on the commuter lot.

The construction will be part of a large-scale streetscape makeover planned along Bloomingbank Road in front of the train station and along Riverside Road between the railroad tracks and East Quincy Street.

All of the work is scheduled to be coordinated to begin in late summer and wrap up before December.