New Metra Train Platform Dedicated in Western Springs

The Doings

The fountains were going and newly planted flowers and trees provided a bright background to a chilly morning for the grand re-opening of the east Metra train platform in Western Springs Friday.

Village officials were on hand to give out free doughnut and welcome commuters and residents to the official ceremony.

“It took a little longer than anticipated but this project beautifies our central corridor and is part of a grander project for the whole downtown area,” said Village President Alice Gallagher. “We had some sacrifices like lost parking places and streets closed down but it was well worth it.”

The project began in the spring of 2017 to repair the platform, which had been constructed in 1965 and was showing signs of wear and tear.

“The project improves safety and accessibility as well as bringing aesthetic improvements to the area,” said Selmin Cicek, village communications manager.

U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski of Western Springs noted the project took more than $2.5 million, but said it turned out wonderful.

“As a resident, I appreciate how this looks and functions and it serves the community well,” Lipinski said.

Lipinski, Gallagher and Steve Palmer, who serves on the Metra Board of Directors, cut a blue ribbon in front of the train steps to officially open the platform.

“This is a definite improvement, it looks very nice. I am interested to see it in full effect,” said Western Springs resident Jim Swinehart. “The fountains and plants are beautiful and really make mundane train tracks look nice.”

Fran Ahrens, who grew up in the area and owns Body in Balance Pilates in Western Springs, said this will make is safer for commuters.

“It was not at all inconvenient to my business, and my customers appreciate the extra parking spaces,” Ahrens said.

The project was initially scheduled for completion in 2017, but delays created by Illinois Department of Transportation shut downs and inclement weather pushed the date to the fall of this year, Gallagher said.

The train platform project was funded by money from the Transportation Equity Act which provides for money to be used for pedestrian improvement projects with a 80/20 split with municipalities and by a grant from Metra of $250,000.

“The invoices are not all processed, but the costs are $3.1 million in construction costs, federally earmarked provided funds of $2.48 million and a local match of $620,000,” said Matt Supert, Western Springs director of municipal services.