The restoration of Chicago Union Station took a significant step forward today, as Amtrak, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago area transportation leaders from Metra, the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced plans to begin the next phase of planning, historic review and preliminary engineering for the historic transportation hub. The selection of the Arup team will bring international and regional experience in the design and renovation of transportation infrastructure, to the Union Station project.
Amtrak, and its partners—the City of Chicago, Metra and the RTA– are jointly funding design services for improvements to address the most immediate issues of passenger capacity, service, safety, accessibility, and mobility issues in and around the station. The work on these 13 near-term (Phase 1) improvements was identified in the 2012 City-led master plan.
Working closely with Amtrak, and its partners, Arup will advance design work in a number of areas including expanded concourses and entrances, widening of platforms, ADA compliance, pedestrian passageways and issues related to ventilation.
“Chicago Union Station is an enormous asset to Amtrak as well as the City of Chicago,” said Stephen Gardner, Amtrak Executive Vice President/Chief of Business Development. “We are excited to begin this first phase of the efforts to improve this vibrant transportation hub, in collaboration with our partners. These efforts, combined with related efforts to advance new customer amenities and spur development of Amtrak’s historic Station Headhouse and other assets, could catapult Union Station back into its role as a central anchor of the West Loop neighborhood.”
“We are making Union Station a true transit hub and economic engine by doubling down on transportation investments that create jobs and transform neighborhoods,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “Union Station provides an essential link to economic, cultural and recreational opportunities for Chicago’s residents, visitors and businesses. Modernizing Union Station is one of the ways we are working together to build a 21st century infrastructure to power Chicago’s 21st century economy.”
“This work is essential to developing plans to address critical pedestrian flow and ventilation issues at Union Station, but we still have much work to do,” said Metra Chairman Martin Oberman. “We will need to work together to identify the funding to undertake this major public improvement in order to advance this work. I look forward to continuing to work with all of our partners to secure that funding so that we can transform this historic building into a modern facility.”
“I understand the importance of this work on Union Station as both RTA Chairman and as a rider,” said RTA Chairman Kirk Dillard. “I take Metra in and out of Union Station daily. It is a key transit station that serves Metra as well as CTA and now Pace Bus on Shoulder express riders. We must move this project forward both to restore this iconic building to its former glory and to assure the safety and comfort of our customers.”
“Union Station is a significant hub for commuter, passenger and freight rail not only for Chicago, but for the entire nation. I’m pleased that Amtrak is addressing its most immediate concerns like accessibility and mobility issues,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley of Illinois. “In Congress, I will keep fighting on the House Appropriations Committee for transportation and infrastructure funding for the greater Chicagoland area so that it continues to be a city that Americans want to live in, work and visit.”
Arup’s team for the execution of Phase 1A is heavily experienced in the design and operation of globally acclaimed and historically significant multimodal transportation hubs, and the direction of large scale renovation and improvement projects while recognizing the need to maintain the transportation facility’s operational capacity. The team includes local, regional, and international experts with the experience to restore this Daniel Burnham-designed station to its prominence on Chicago’s list of world class architecture.
“Arup is delighted to lead the team of experts that will take Chicago Union Station into the next century,” said John Eddy, principal and project manager at Arup. “This project will reflect the station’s status as the major multimodal transit powerhouse for the city and region. We look forward to collaborating with Amtrak and the Project Partners to create an efficient, vibrant, and modern transit hub.”
The work under Phase 1A is expected to last approximately 18 months. Opportunities for public comment and involvement will be announced and advertised on UnionStationMP.com.
Amtrak – America’s Railroad® – is dedicated to safe and reliable mobility as the nation’s intercity passenger rail service provider and its high-speed rail operator. With our state and commuter partners, we move people, the economy and the nation forward, carrying more than 30 million Amtrak passengers for each of the past five years. Formally known as the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak is governed by a nine-member board of directors appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Anthony R. Coscia is board chairman and Jeffrey R. Moreland is vice chairman. Amtrak operates more than 300 trains daily – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – connecting more than 500 destinations in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces.
About the City of Chicago Department of Transportation
The Chicago Department of Transportation’s mission is to keep the city’s surface transportation networks and public way safe for users, environmentally sustainable, in a state of good repair and attractive, so that its diverse residents, businesses and guests all enjoy a variety of quality transportation options, regardless of ability or destination. CDOT’s vision is to ensure that Chicago continues to be a vibrant international city, successfully competing in the global economy with a transportation system that provides high-quality service to residents, businesses, and visitors – a system that offers a solid foundation for the city, regional and national economies, yet is sensitive to its communities and environment.
Metra is one of the largest and most complex commuter rail systems in North America, serving Cook, DuPage, Will, Lake, Kane and McHenry counties in Northeastern Illinois. The agency provides service to and from downtown Chicago with 241 stations over 11 routes totaling nearly 500 route miles and approximately 1,200 miles of track. Metra operates more than 700 weekday trains, providing about 300,000 passenger trips each weekday.
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the only transit agency charged with regional financial oversight, funding, and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace bus and paratransit. Riders take more than two million trips each weekday on the RTA region’s transit system in six counties with 7,200 transit route miles throughout Northeastern Illinois. The agency also provides customer services including online and telephone travel planning assistance and travel training for seniors and people with disabilities.
Arup provides design, consulting, planning and engineering services for the most prominent projects and sites in the built environment. Since its founding in 1946, the firm has consistently delivered technical excellence, innovation, and value to its clients, while maintaining its core mission of shaping a better world. Arup opened its first US office more than 30 years ago and now employs 1,300 people in the Americas. The firm’s employee-ownership structure promotes ongoing investment in joint research to yield better outcomes that benefit its clients and partners.