A Metra locomotive at the Davis Street station.

Metra is rolling out a new schedule on the Union Pacific North Line through Evanston on July 12 that nearly doubles the total number of runs each day from 20 to 38.

But while all trains on the current and the new schedules stop at the Davis Street station in Evanston, only 23 inbound and 22 outbound trains will stop at the two other Evanston stations — Main Street and Central Street.

That’s an increase from 17 inbound and 19 outbound trains stopping at those stations now.

In a press release, Metra says the new schedule is a response to a steady increase in ridership since pandemic lows and that the new schedule offers more off-peak options to meet the post-COVID needs of riders.

Metra says its ridership, which fell to 3% of normal in April 2020 has now recovered to 17% of its pre-pandemic level.

The new schedule and the current one can both be viewed online.

Evanston city officials say the city did not receive advance notice of the schedule changes and is reviewing the new schedule to evaluate its impact on the city.

Readers can comment about the new schedule using Metra’s comment form.

One Evanston resident who lives near the Main Street Metra stop, Glen Cole, says the new schedule dramatically reduces northbound service from Main Street and Central Street.

The northbound trains that will still stop at those stations will go no further than Winnetka until mid-afternoon and the afternoon rush hour trains will go no further than Highland Park.

That will hurt Evanstonians who work at major Lake County employers, including Abbott Laboratories, AbbVie and Rosalind Franklin as well as those in the Lake Forest business park, Cole says.

“These changes are detrimental to the prospects for transit-oriented residential development away from Davis Street,” Cole says, “and to the attractiveness of these areas of Evanston as a place to live for professionals.”

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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