A plan to bring covered bicycle racks to the Prairie Avenue and Congress Park train station in Brookfield is moving ahead, slowly, with the shelters now scheduled to be in place no earlier than November 2019.

The exact style of the shelters is still to be determined, but the plan is still to place one shelter, which will house 12 bike racks, near the kiss-and-ride turnaround on Burlington Avenue near the Prairie Avenue Metra station. Meanwhile, a shelter covering 24 bike racks will be placed on an unused gravel area on the south side of the tracks near the Congress Park station entrance.

The project, which comes at a total cost of about $277,000, is being paid in large part by a pair of grants. The village in October 2017 was notified that it had received a roughly $222,000 grant through the state of Illinois’ Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program. 

The Regional Transportation Authority is chipping in another $14,500, leaving Brookfield to foot the remainder of the bill.

Because the initiative involves state funding, the bidding and construction process is being handled by the Illinois Department of Transportation. Village Engineer Derek Treichel told members of the village board on Dec. 10 that the best case scenario was that IDOT would put the project on its September 2019 bid list, with construction commencing in November.

“Worst case scenario is it just gets delayed to spring of 2020,” Treichel said.

On Dec. 10 the village board voted unanimously to get the ball rolling on the project by approving a pair of agreements to authorize Edwin Hancock Engineering to begin design engineering.

The village’s share of the engineering work will be $5,100.

Trustee Michelle Ryan said the village should ensure that the design is attractive, in particular at Congress Park.

“[We need to be] cognizant of aesthetics as we move forward with that, because that really is the entry point to Congress Park station,” Ryan said. “Once these things are there – it’s a concrete pad, it’s a shelter, a permanent structure – that we’re also keeping an eye open toward how the station should really look  as you are approaching it from that south end.”

Trustee Ryan Evans, while supporting the idea of the bike racks and of the use of grant money to largely fund the project, expressed astonishment at the cost for the shelters for three dozen bicycle racks.

A traditional inverted U-rack can accommodate up to three bicycles, according to the website of the Canadian firm called Reliance Foundry Inc., which manufactures bike racks.

 “The match for Brookfield we can handle,” he said. “But $277,000 for 30 bike racks? I’d be remiss not to bring that up.”