EDGEWATER — Workers broke ground on a new Metra station in Edgewater that officials say will help transform the neighborhood for the better.
A ground breaking ceremony was held for the Peterson-Ridge station Monday, bringing to an end over a decade of fits-and-starts for the long-promised project.
Slated to be completed in 2023, the Peterson-Ridge station will plug a three-mile gap in stations along the Union Pacific-North line, between the existing Rogers Park and Ravenswood stations. It will also help boost economic activity in the area and bring more equitable transit options to neighbors, officials said.
“More public transit is something we all benefit from,” said Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th). “I am elated.”
The Peterson-Ridge station originally fell by the wayside during the state’s 2010 budget woes. Local officials said in 2017 funding for the project was nearly secured, but a $1 billion fund earmarked for Metra was slashed in half that year.
In 2019, Metra announced the $15 million in funding needed for the project had finally been allocated. Work was slated to begin in September 2020 but was again delayed.
Most recently, work was scheduled to begin in May, but the Department of Water Management rejected Metra’s plans for environmentally friendly permeable pavers and green landscaping features.
That issue has been resolved, leading to Monday’s ground breaking, Vasquez said.
The new station will help bring people to Edgewater and the northern end of Andersonville, boosting commerce in the area. It could also help bring transit-oriented development to the area, or building projects that allow for more density and less parking because it is near public transit stops, officials said.
“It’s about quality of life in the community,” Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said. “It’s going to add to the vibrancy of the neighborhood.”
The $19 million station will include two platforms the length of six Metra cars, heated stairs and accessible ramps, a warming house, 44 parking spaces, bike parking and a drop-off zone. Crews will also improve the existing bridges over Peterson and Ridge avenues.
Edgewater used to have three Metra stations, but they were closed in 1958, said longtime resident Jean SmilingCoyote. Bringing back one station restores easy and accessible transit options to neighbors who have missed it for years, she said.
“It’s going to be like heaven,” she said.
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