The City of Evanston is looking for ideas from the public on how best to improve transit options around Main Street and Chicago Avenue.

The city has received a grant from the Regional Transportation Authority to fund a transportation planning study of the area and will hold a public meeting about it in the Lincoln School Auditorium at 910 Forest Ave. from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 11.

CTA Purple Line and Metra Union Pacific North trains both stop at Main Street about 100 feet apart, but there’s no easy way to transfer between the two elevated platforms.

City officials say the study is intended to enhance multi-modal mobility between the Main Street stations, the Main Street business district and surrounding neighborhoods.

Top: The long flight of stairs to the Main Street Metra station.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Wasting Time/Money

    Yet again, the city finds another way to waste money – even if it comes in the form of a grant, it was still taxpayer dollars that didn't need spending on this ridiculous study.  The same layout exists at Main that we see on Church.  Also, if people don't want the exercise climbing that "long flight of stairs," they do have an elevator option for the Metra station going southbound and an access ramp going northbound..

    If the city really wanted to make this area more useful, they should convince Metra to have fewer express trains running through this station and ask them to stop instead.  Also ask CTA to add a few trains during rush hour.  CTA adding trains would have a benefit for all riders.  Metra, with all of the new apartments coming into the area, should have at least 1, if not 2, of those express trains stop at Main to carry the additional ridership that is likely coming down the tracks.

    Also, Piccolo Theatre (which I enjoy) should stop using the Metra waiting room for a storage area.  In the warm months it isn't a huge deal, but during winter when it is freezing outside and you can't even get into the waiting room because of the stacks of chairs, props and crowds of people squeezed into the remaining space, it isn't so nice.  I miss the original benches that allowed for plenty of seating.  The cafe tables are a poor substitution.

    1. Elevator option for southbound Metra

      What elevator option for south bound metra riders?  Will someone kindly point that out for me.  A friend and I spent time trying to find it at the end of a busines day and either we missed it completely or it isn't there.  It makes no sense to have the handicapped ramp (and I agree w/the person who said it was just about inaccessable.  I couldn't believe how hard it was to climb.) for the north bound Metra but none for the south bound Metra.

  2. Main Street Planning

    I must politely disagree. Time and money spent planning is an investment if properly done. Input from the community is important.  The Main Street station needs real work and considering METRA is wise.  I am planning on attending the meeting. The station Is a valuable resource and selling point. Think long term for such projects

  3. Transportation planning

    I would love to see monitirs placed in the surrounding multifamily building lobbies, so that residents can see up to date train arrival information for both the CTA and Metra. If the same monitors were placed in local businesses, riders could do some last minute shopping and arrive at the station just in time.

    1. Ask the building owners for CTA monitors

      Your suggestion could be deployed in a matter of minutes by the building/business owners you have in mind.

      The CTA has a customizable web-based app that allows you to do this.  All you need is a computer with web access.  It would be a good use for an old computer.


      I could see someone like Brothers K or Lucky Platter doing this.

  4. Handicapped and other assumptions

    For some who have particular handicaps, the long ramp is not as easy as you seem to think. This doesn't mean changing the access there for a small subset of residents due to high cost to do so, but you might consider that certain people might not find that ramp as easy as a solution as it appears.

    And I could be wrong, but I thought the elevator for southbound Metra at Main is only available during the hours that the station is open? The Main stop for the L has no handicapped access at all, but has elevators for both platforms at Davis. So, the configuration is not an exact match in many ways, and for many people it is not a matter of "exercise".

    And besides handicapped residents or those whose mobility is only slightly reduced but have a groccery trolly? What about families with strollers or multiple children? Navigating any flight of stairs with a larger stroller for multiple children who can't walk a flight of stairs is a huge difficulty and actually very dangerous.

    Also, if the train schedule is altered, not only does that alter all of the personel schedules that work on the line, but it would require reprinting of signage and schedules, updating the website, and all changes to be reflected across all other materials. And you want the CTA to do the same for an undertermined amount of riders based on apartment buildings around a single trainstop? I'm sure (or at very least hope) that they do a level of analysis of their entire route for population changes, how changes that are determined necessary for the entire system of the trains running against population counts and rider levels, as well as the cost to implement changes.

  5. Wow, this actually an

    Wow, this actually an appropriate function of the government. While some may view this as unnecessary, it is far less harmful than the millions they plan to spend subsidizing the proposed office building across the street or buying trader joes a parking lot.

  6. Northwestern MBA students did

    Northwestern MBA students did a thoughtful and sensible study of this part of town.  They've already given you some information about the apparent irrelevance of transportation — which has been in place for decades — for economic development.  The city council has carefully overlooked all of that information and gone ahead with wasteful and probably irrelevant pipedreams.  Add to that the local political group's history of ignoring local needs, ideas, and opinions and you have a recipe in stone for nonthinking.  Now you spend more money, probably to no avail, and you expect locals to take you seriously.  Just have us all call 3-1-1, wait 3-5 buiness days for non-answers, and you can spend more money there, too.

    1. Kellogg study

      Your comment prompted me to go back to the original Kellogg study (http://evanstonnow.com/files/kellogg-evanston_cre_presentation.pdf). I did not find anything in the study that said that transportation is irrelevant. If anything, the study points out that Evanston has both a lack of comprehensive public transit and high perceived cost of parking and occupancy. The combination makes Evanston less desireable to businesses seeking to develop in the area.

      The study suggested more density – building office buildings in existing parking lots and other undeveloped spaces. Thoughtful transportation planning will only improve Evanston's accessibility, and allow us to increase density (particularly along Main/Chicago) without significantly increasing congestion.

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