One of the great benefits of living in Glen Ellyn is quick access to the Metra train station. If you’re heading into the city, you can avoid the headache of traffic and get there in under forty minutes, all while enjoying your favorite podcast or streaming your favorite show on the go. Or maybe you’d like to check out a new restaurant in a neighboring town and don’t want the hassle of a car, the train is there for you. While some may take the train for granted, it’s a benefit that a lot of towns simply don’t have. Just as it’s easy to get used to having the train so close, it’s also easy to get used to the status quo of the 1960’s era train station.
Thankfully, Glen Ellyn has been moving forward with preliminary plans to completely renovate the station, including updates to parking, platforms, and adding a pedestrian tunnel. Unfortunately though, the work week hustlers and weekend warriors are going to have to wait a few years before this new station becomes a reality.
Before worrying about just how long this new train station could take to design and build, let’s take a look at all of the juicy details which may or may not be a part of the final plans. Building a new grade-separated crossing has been a priority from the start, as the previous crossing that allowed pedestrians to walk right across the tracks was removed by Union Pacific for safety reasons. Glen Ellyn had been looking at the possibility of adding either a pedestrian bridge, or a tunnel to allow people to safely cross over the tracks and it appears the village board has settled on the idea of a tunnel.
In addition to a larger train station and a pedestrian tunnel, the village is also looking at plans that would include new platforms, new drop-off and pickup areas, and more extensively, building an expansive plaza west of the tracks. The plaza-like space would be to the southwest of the new construction and could include outdoor dining, as well as bike racks and new landscaping. In this scenario, the prairie path would have to be re-routed south to accommodate the new space.
Bringing this all back to reality, the earliest Glen Ellyn will be able to apply for federal grants to help pay for the new station and amenities will be sometime in 2019. Glen Ellyn is following in the footsteps of Elmhurst, who received $12.9 million in grants this past October for their new $17 million station. The city originally applied for $18 million in grants last March. This would put Glen Ellyn roughly two years behind Elmhurst’s schedule. Construction of the Elmhurst station is expected to begin in 2019, so if the plans follow a parallel path, we may not see a new station in Glen Ellyn until at least 2021. Until then, it’ll be fun to dream about.