Union Station is a place where all points meet, where city, region, and world come together. It is where bold planning for Chicago should be reborn.
It is the centerpiece of a highly interconnected transit system that connects all parts of the city, the metropolitan region and the Midwest. It’s quick link to the airport connects to the world.
This marvelous capacity exists only potentially now. But the potential will be realized with a few basic pieces of infrastructure and some bold strokes of planning.
Union Station should be a top priority of the City of Chicago. It is the most important piece of infrastructure for Chicago now!
From commuter rail to regional rail
The task is to raise Union Station from the modest role of commuter rail station, to transform it into a real center of regional rail.
The current master plan to upgrade Union Station will increase its capacity. It begins to move toward the required transformation. Through-routing is required to put Union Station at the center of a reinvigorated system, making it the nexus of high speed intercity and high frequency regional rail. This will sustain regional transit-oriented growth for years to come.
The High Speed Rail Alliance’s Crossrail Chicago project, called ‘a bold plan to connect the Midwest to the world,’ will bring trains through Union Station with high frequency connections to McCormick Place and to O’Hare. The trunk line will support all levels of service: HSR intercity, regional commuter, regional express, airport express, city transit.
Links below lead to good introductory material and more in-depth writings on Union Station and regional rail.
A 4-part series for New City, All Aboard Renovation: The Remaking of Union Station
Union Station and Crossrail A Return To Bold Planning for the Chicago Region
Part 1 Union Station Now : the current Master Plan and how to fund it
Part 2 Union Station Transformation : becoming a nexus of high speed intercity and high frequency regional rail
Part 3 Union Station Strategy : policies and institutions to make the transformation happen