Evanston’s City Council tonight is scheduled to approve a conceptual plan for long-term improvements to and around the CTA and Metra stations on Main Street.

The study, prepared over the past year by the Parsons Brinkerhoff consulting firm, calls for tunneling under the CTA embankment to provide a more direct pedestrian connection between the two stations and adding new access stairs and elevators as well as expanding the CTA station so it could handle eight-car trains.

The major changes to the CTA station are estimated to cost $35 million. Funding for that work, if it happens, would likely come mainly from federal grants to the CTA.

But the study also identifies a range of more modest improvements that might be tackled independently, and soon, by the city. Those include:

  • New way-finding signage to clarify the location of station entrances, bicycle parking, bus stops and short- and long-term parking locations.
  • Curb bump-outs for bus stops in front of the CTA station.
  • New crosswalks at Chicago Avenue and Washington Street with yield-to-pedestrians signage.
  • Moving the northbound bus stop at Chicago and Main from north to south of the intersection.
  • ncreasing pedestrian signal timing from five to seven seconds at the Chicago-Main intersection.
  • Install 15 to 22 new bike racks near the station entrances.
  • Install east crosswalk at the intersection of Main and Custer Avenue and add stop signs to Main Street at the intersection with Custer Avenue.

The study was reviewed by the city’s Plan Commission in April.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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