The Jefferson Park Free Press
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November – December, 2009
Volume IV News and Commentary Issue III
By Robert Bank
The Great Train(station) Robbery?
Is Six-Corners trying to steal away Mayfair’s Metra station? In a case of history repeating itself, The Six Corners Association has resurrected a 10 year old plan, that would close Mayfair’s Metra stop at 4357 N. Cicero, as well as Grayland’s at 3729 N. Kilbourn, and open a new station at Irving Pk. Rd. The idea was first proposed back in 1998, by the now defunct Northwest Development Corporation, whose primary focus was to revitalize the Six-Corners shopping district.
The Six Corners Association has brought back the idea, spurred on by Metra’s commitment to invest $6,000,000 combined, to bring both Mayfair, and Grayland, into ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance. The Six Corners Association would like to close the Mayfair and Grayland stations, and take the six-million dollars set aside for their improvements, and instead build a new station on Irving Park, near the Marshalls store at the (Jewel) Marketplace at Six-Corners.
Joe Angelastri, president of the Six Corners Assoc., said his organization would like to see not just a platform stop (which is all that Mayfair and Grayland offer), but an actual train station building. Angelastri’s hopes also include having Amtrak service at the proposed new station; Amtrak’s Hiawatha route to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, runs along the same tracks past Mayfair, Grayland and the proposed new station, 7-times a day. Currently there are no Amtrak stops within the City limits outside of Union Station. The closest Chicagoland Amtrak stops to Union Station, on their respective lines are: Glenview, La Grange, Summit, and Homewood.
The Metra Mayfair station is officially considered a Metra transfer point to the CTA’s Blue line (at Montrose), currently a 3-minute walk from Mayfair. The Six Corners Association’s proposal would add another 10 minutes to that walk. Other drawbacks of the proposal for current Mayfair Metra/CTA riders would be the increased distance to a Metra transfer from CTA’s Cicero Avenue bus, and the Montrose bus, both of which are less than a half-block from the Mayfair Metra station. If the Six Corners Association plan becomes reality, the transfer from the Cicero bus would be close to a two-block walk, and Montrose bus riders would likely have to transfer onto the Cicero bus to Irving Pk. Rd., or face over a ten-minute walk to the proposed Six-Corners Metra station.
So far the Six-Corners Association has spoken to 45th Ward Alderman Pat Levar, 38th Ward Alderman and Transportation Committee Chairman, Tom Allen, State Rep. Joe Lyons (19th) and representatives of the Portage Park Neighborhood Association and the Old Irving Park Association.
The Mayfair Civic Association first learned of the new proposal from a recent newspaper article, and plans to discuss the matter at their next meeting. There has been a Mayfair station for over a century, and even two Mayfair Stations until 1958, when the Chicago and North Western closed its Mayfair station, leaving the current Metra (at the time Milwaukee Road) station. The Chicago and North Western closed 22 city stations back in 1958, including Peterson, Sauganash, Lincolnwood and Skokie, which all ran along a spur north of Mayfair.
Six Corners Association’s Joe Angelastri says this is just an idea and that, “if it’s a good idea, it should happen, if not, then no; but it should at least be considered.”
Click here to see map: http://www.jeffersonparkfreepress.com/MetraMDNRRindex.jpg
Jefferson Park, Lawrence/Milwaukee Corridor Study follow-up meeting postponed
Benet Haller of the City’s Zoning Department had planned to have a follow-up meeting earlier this year, some time before Thanksgiving; however that follow-up meeting was postponed as the task of fine-tuning the presentation has grown to include an overview of the Portage Park area as well as the Jefferson Park area. Mr. Haller has a Masters degree in Architecture from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a Masters in Urban Planning and Policy from University of Illinois (UIC). Look for meeting updates in future Jefferson Park Free Press (jeffersonparkfreepress.com) issues.