By Bob Uphues
If you're traveling through downtown Riverside, particularly across the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad tracks, during the coming weeks, be sure to exercise caution and patience.
The area immediately south of the tracks will be an active construction zone until at least early July. The long-awaited work on the Metra station pedestrian access and safety project along Riverside Road and Bloomingbank Road started May 13.
The project includes extending the right turn lane from Riverside Road to Bloomingbank Road farther south by creating a brick paver plaza with raised planting beds and bikes racks immediately south of the tracks on the west side of Riverside Road.
The arrangement will dramatically shorten the crosswalk across Bloomingbank Road, increasing pedestrian safety and will create a clear separation between pedestrians and vehicles on the north side of Bloomingbank Road in front of the Metra station.
In addition, streetscape improvements on the east side of Riverside Road from the tracks to East Quincy Street will match those that already exist north of the railroad tracks. Those improvements will include brick paver sidewalks, raised planters and lighted bollards.
The work will impact traffic and parking.
Beginning May 18 and lasting until the project is completed, Bloomingbank Road will be closed to traffic and on-street parking in front of the train station. That means Burling Road will become a two-way street during construction. Street parking along Burling Road will be prohibited.
The village of Riverside has announced that metered parking will be available at about a half dozen on- and off-street locations scattered in the downtown area on both sides of the tracks.
The meters will be in effect 24 hours a day except on holidays and weekends (midnight Friday until midnight Sunday). Parking won't be allowed overnight for metered spaces on the street.
Metered spaces south of the tracks are located in the main commuter lot behind the Riverside Swim Club (beginning May 20), on Riverside Road just east of the Swinging Bridge, along the railroad right-of-way immediately north of Metal Mites and immediately east of Metal Mites at 36 E. Quincy St.
North of the tracks, metered spaces will be located along Pine Avenue next to the train platform, along the east edge of the Green Parking Lot, 61-63 E. Burlington St. and, for about three weeks, behind the former PNC Bank building at 40 E. Burlington St.
Meters cost 25 cents per hour. Payments can be made with cash, through the Passport Parking phone app and by calling 708-716-0716, or via credit card through the village website (riverside.il.us). The Zone for each option is 60546.