Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: JamesT4, metraRI

  by Tadman
 
So I spend today at a conference at McCormick Place. I rode Metra Electric down from the Loop. The station under McCormick Place is a dump. The lighting is poor and you could catch tetanus just by looking at the steps. I don't usually complain about stations unless they're really bad. What makes this worse is the fact that we're supposed to put our best foot forward for tourists. Instead, we send them to a dungeon that would scare off all but the most adventurous. What makes matters worse is the fact that the mainline under McCormick place is a giant wind tunnel, and since only a few trains stop there, the wind tunnel effect is worsened by speeding limited trains coming out of the darkness.

F- for this station... Especially if you're a tourist leery of the big city.
  by justalurker66
 
This past September I paid my first visit to the platforms ...
Image
Image
There is my 2000 words of agreement.

The long staircase down to the platforms limits what they can do with the station itself. The grand design of McCormick Place above makes the station look even worse. The entrance looks like a utility closet. I had to ask a security guard for directions to find it.

It certainly isn't a good "gateway to Chicago" station. Lighting would be the first improvement. Of course, better lighting would just show the dirt.
  by mtuandrew
 
I wish NYP's platforms were so nice.

But yeah - get some more effective lighting, some windbreaks, and maybe a few bright murals (even bright ads!) along the outside walls. I can't speak to the upper entrance though.
  by justalurker66
 
For comparison here is a shot of NICTD's platforms at Millenium Park at the end of the line. (This station is about two miles north of McCormick Place.)
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(I have not been down to the lower level of Millenium Park where the Metra trains arrive.)

McCormick Place Station is functional, but not inviting.
  by Pacific 2-3-1
 
McCormick Place-on-the-Lake, as it used to be called, has expanded time and time again since it was built.

It will also be served in the future by a restoration of the Cermak (22nd Street) stop on the South Side Green Line elevated. As a built-new station, it will be fully accessible (to those who don't mind a two block walk eastward).

In looking up the history of this station on chicago-l.org, I noticed the site mentions that during the Century of Progress (1933/4 World's Fair) the Chicago Rapid Transit Co. ran a small fleet of motor coach shuttle buses from the Cermak station to the lakefront fair grounds.

Until it was painted over in the 1970's, I remember that the "Berwyn-Edgewater Beach" elevated stop on the Howard Red Line had a stencil on one of the bare concrete support columns holding the tracks over the street which read:

RIDE THE "L" TO THE WORLD'S FAIR
  by CTA Gray Line
 
The McCormick Place Metra station would be upgraded and become a CTA 'L' station under the CTA Gray Line Proposal:
http://community-2.webtv.net/GLRT2/McCormickPlace23rd/

Right now the City and CTA are spinning the new Cermak Green Line station as serving McCormick Place, with the closest entrance to the West Building 2 blocks away as shown on the Channel 7 Aerial Map, which also shows the dingy Metra Electric/South Shore Line station described here beneath the North Building:

http://dig.abclocal.go.com/wls/document ... elease.pdf http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?sectio ... id=8507989

Again, the problem is the City vs the Suburbs; the Electric District and it's Facilities are owned by a Suburban Agency and Administration, and they don't give a Flying Frack about improving their in-city facilities. And the City is NOT going to make any investment in improving Suburban-owned facilities (even though it is a gateway to
the City).

So we need to hit the mules with 2x4's in order to get their attention.
  by Tadman
 
A green line station is interesting, but that's still a four block walk to McCormick place. Oh well, it's better than the red line which is much farther.

As for in-city Metra stations, they have a mixed track record but all is not glum as our new friend posits. Clybourn is about a ten minute walk from my house and it's fine. Recently a station was constructed for Comiskey "US Cell" park, and they sunk quite a bit of money into a nice station (too much in my opinion). I don't see it being a stretch to prioritize paint, stairs, lights, heat, and better signage for McCormick Place station.
  by justalurker66
 
CTA Gray Line wrote:Again, the problem is the City vs the Suburbs; the Electric District and it's Facilities are owned by a Suburban Agency and Administration, and they don't give a Flying Frack about improving their in-city facilities.
55th-56th-57th St seem to be in the city and nicely remodeled and that isn't the only in city work being done by Metra.
Tadman wrote:A green line station is interesting, but that's still a four block walk to McCormick place. Oh well, it's better than the red line which is much farther.
A quarter mile closer making it only a half mile walk? Yeah, it is a minor improvement. But not an overly expensive one. A real improvement would be to move the green line over at least two blocks and provide covered connections to McCormick Place ... but that would be very expensive.
  by CTA Gray Line
 
justalurker66 wrote: 55th-56th-57th St seem to be in the city and nicely remodeled and that isn't the only in city work being done by Metra.
So are all the Stations on the South Chicago Branch, and also completely unused and abandoned (except solely during weekday Rush Hours).

I also admit to over-exaggerating things sometimes, as David said "for some it can be intense".
  by Tadman
 
@Lurker, when you say McCormick place is functional but not inviting, I agree to a certain point. The rusted staircase is barely functional - a tourist that trips and has to get a tetanus shot is not going to feel welcomed or that he/she has received any utility from the station. I'm no safety nanny, but I get the heebie-jeebies on those steps.