Town President Larry Dominick joined officials of METRA and the Cicero Town Board on Wednesday morning to cut the ribbon on $4.5 million in improvements completed this week on the Metra Train station at 49th Avenue and 25th Street. Planning for the improvements began in 2005 with funding approved in 2009. The groundbreaking took place in August 2012.
Improvements include rebuilding Cicero’s platforms and shelters, which were in badly needed repair. The 18-month-long renovation project is part of a $136-million, state-funded public works program that includes three new Metra stations and rehabbing 25 dilapidated facilities. Metra has more than 230 stations serving about 315,000 daily riders.
One challenge at the Cicero Metra station is a pedestrian access tunnel and ramp at a few hundred feet east on Cicero Avenue that leads to the main train platform. The tunnel needed to be to be rebuilt to comply with the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act. It was complicated by the nearness of one platform to a freight railroad yard. The parking lot, which was a dirt field previously, was paved and offers 146 parking spots. It features new inbound and outbound platforms, tactile warning strips, new and brighter lighting, an enclosed heated warming house on the outbound platform, and a head house and ADA compliant ramp enclosure with a heated waiting area on the inbound side. Suriveillance cameras have also been added. The station is located 7 miles from Chicago’s Union Station and is served by 41 trains each weekday.
“We’re very proud of the work that has been done not he station. We have plans to redevelop the area with offices, commercial and residential properties, too. The improved public transportation center here will help us move forward with those plans now,” Dominick said.