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After multiple snafus, Metra breaks ground on long-awaited Peterson/Ridge station

5:57 PM CDT on November 2, 2021

Elected officials and Metra staff break ground on the new station. Photo: Courtney Cobbs

Yesterday, elected officials and Metra staff broke ground on the long-awaited new Peterson / Ridge station on the Union Pacific North line. The new stop will be located at the border of West Ridge, Lincoln Square, and Edgewater, and situated between the UP-N's number-one ridership station, Ravenswood, and the fifth-most used station, Rogers Park. 

According to a Metra press release, the $19 million project, which is expected to take about 18 months to complete, includes two six-car platforms; heated concrete stairs and ADA-compliant ramps; a glass and masonry warming house with side canopies and a metal roof; two shelters with on-demand heating; an access drive with a cul-de-sac turnaround and ADA pick-up/drop-off; five ADA parking spaces and 44 pay parking spaces along Ravenswood Avenue; bicycle parking; a small pedestrian plaza with landscaping and an irrigation system; and reworked traffic signals for the station entrance. There will be an additional $3 million in renovation work on the bridges over Peterson and Ridge avenues.

Rendering of the new station.
Rendering of the new station.
Rendering of the new station.

The work is being funded in part by a $15 million grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, a component of Rebuild Illinois, the state’s infrastructure funding program. Federal Transit Administration funding will cover the remaining $7 million in work. An estimated 150 jobs will be created during the project.

Cook County president Toni Preckwinkle said in a statement that the new station will improve transportation equity by offering residents another transportation option and increasing their access to goods and services. "Building infill stations like Peterson-Ridge is a great opportunity to give more residents of our county convenient access to transit, helping them get to work, school, and recreation, which strengthens our neighborhoods and supports the region’s economy."

At the ceremony, current and former elected officials spoke about the decade-plus of community advocacy for a Metra station in the area. Former 40th Ward alderman Patrick O'Connor, who was in office during the early stages of the project, told Streetsblog that the process of getting the station opened was like a long birth.  "It was a long, difficult process, and I'm happy it's over, and I'm glad to see this happen for the community."

Plans for the station were announced in 2012 but construction was delayed due to state budget issues impacting funding and most recently, issues with permits. The Chicago Department of Water Management denied permits due to the concerns that the station's permeable pavement, which was designed to reduce flooding, would hurt the existing sewers.

Current 40th Ward alderman Andre Vasquez said that, drawing on his experience working for AT&T, he got multiple stakeholders on a single e-mail chain and kept asking what each party could do to resolve the issue, attempting to address every single concern and bureaucratic hurdle as quickly as possible. While the design had to be tweaked the current design still has permeable features.

An outbound Union Pacific North Line train travels past the site of the future Peterson/Ridge station. Photo: Igor Studenkov
An outbound Union Pacific North Line train travels past the site of the future Peterson/Ridge station. Photo: Igor Studenkov
An outbound Union Pacific North Line train travels past the site of the future Peterson/Ridge station. Photo: Igor Studenkov

Vasquez added that he sees the Metra station as a way to eventually have more transit-oriented development on some of the nearby side streets and along Clark Street, located about half a mile east, and bring more foot traffic to local businesses. "[The new station] provides opportunities for economic development and investment."

48th Ward alderman Harry Osterman said that once the station is complete, “Edgewater will have some of the best public transportation in the city.” He added that he sees the Metra station as a way to reduce cut-through traffic through the Edgewater area, since it should help replace some car commutes with transit trips.

While it's doubtful this station will meaningfully reduce vehicular traffic and congestion , it is a nice way to expand access to Metra service and provide a car-free way to experience the city and region.

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