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 lstone19
 
The last few months have been rough for Metra commuters getting in and out of Union Station and a lot of it seems to be glacial pace of an Amtrak security upgrade project. Late in winter, Amtrak started on a project to replace the Jersey barriers acting as security barriers at the Adams and Jackson entrances to the riverside plaza with more conventional security bollards. This should have been at most a two-week project but it appears Amtrak's contractor only works on it one or two days a month - the rest of the time, things have sat idle. For the last few weeks, most of both entrances have been blocked with construction walls leaving only a four to five person wide gap at each end. From observation, the capacity through these openings is insufficient for peak demand.

And things have actually improved although we have the city to "thank" for that. Until this week, the south side sidewalk of the Adams bridge had been closed forcing everyone to cross to the north side. I put "thank" in quotes because if the city had kept the Wacker and bridge projects in sync, we wouldn't have had that part of the problem. The Wacker and bridge projects aren't rail related but combined with Amtrak's slow pact of the security project, combined to put pedestrian capacity well below peak demand (last week, the backup in the morning extended down the Adams staircase).

All I can say is the end of the year when presumably both the Amtrak project and the Wacker project will end cannot come soon enough.

(Yes, CUS is Amtrak owned but since this affects the part of CUS primarily used by Metra passengers, the Chicago forum seemed the better fit).
  by F40CFan
 
Sounds like a nightmare. You might have luck going out the Canal St. exit. A little longer walk, but it might be faster than standing in line. Or, if you don't mind a little longer walk, the Clinton exits are way under-utilized.
  by lstone19
 
F40CFan wrote:Sounds like a nightmare. You might have luck going out the Canal St. exit. A little longer walk, but it might be faster than standing in line. Or, if you don't mind a little longer walk, the Clinton exits are way under-utilized.
I did try Canal once but it has its own issues. Besides being longer, the people waiting for buses on Canal make it a mess too. Now that the south side of Adams has reopened, it's tolerable.
  by lstone19
 
The good news is both the Jackson (a couple of weeks ago) and Adams (over Labor Day weekend) entrances to the plaza are now back to full width. While there's still some work to do, it doesn't appear to be anything that will affect rush hour access.