by Martha Quetsch
When the Chicago Cubs and White Sox play in the Windy City during the same weekend, the Elburn Metra station lot is bursting at the seams. In fact, whenever a big event takes place eastward, whether it is Taste of Chicago or the fireworks on Lake Michigan, spaces at the local commuter lot are filled.
Elburn Police Chief Linane said even during a regular weekday, the lot is nearly full. Metra is glad about that; it is just what railroad officials hoped would happen when they built the commuter station in 2005.
That is why Metra included a future parking lot expansion in its original plan for the station. Now that its commuter-use projections are panning out, Metra wants to proceed with the build-out, which will more than double the size of the lot.
“The Elburn parking lot has filled up very quickly. The demand is there and we’re very happy it has met our expectations,” Metra project engineer Andy Roth said.
Roth said funding for the project could come from the federal government.
“We’re hopeful this project might quality for funding from the economic stimulus project,” Roth said. “If that does not work out, we will look to identify additional funding sources to get this built. There is a need.”
Meantime, Roth and other Metra engineers will proceed with the project design.
“We’re on an expedited schedule to make it shovel-ready when funding comes through,” Roth said.
Village trustees on Monday approved Metra’s proceeding with the completion of the design phase of the parking lot expansion.
“Get ‘er done,” trustee Gordon Dierschow said.
Metra officials outlined their plan for the parking lot expansion during the Committee of the Whole meeting Monday at Elburn Village Hall.
“The basic project is straight to the west, building 320 new vehicle parking spaces plus motorcycle parking and a bus parking area for buses from DeKalb,” Metra community affairs official Dimitrius Scopas said.
The parking lot expansion also will include pedestrian improvements such as stairs leading to the commuter railway platform.