Graphic by Ashley LaFayette.
On Feb. 5, the Village of Romeoville officially opened the new Metra Heritage Corridor Line station that runs to and from Chicago, stopping at Union Station.
By adding this new venture to Romeoville, it helps the university get closer to the goal of creating more experiences for students to do on-and-off campus and makes transportation readily available to the community.
Trains run through the new station Monday through Friday, and it is located near 135th Street and New Avenue, which is approximately four miles from campus. It brings new possibilities to students by giving them easier access to get downtown for fun activities, job opportunities and new learning experiences.
“Having a new Metra station in Romeoville will make my life a lot easier because I would be able to commute to school even faster by not having to take the Pace bus from Joliet,” said incoming Organizational Leadership graduate student, Aaron Jordan.
A press release from Metra said the new addition will be “the first new stop on the Heritage Corridor since Metra’s creation in 1984, and the first new stop on any Chicago area Metra line since 2011.”
One-way tickets can be purchased for $7.25 at a pay kiosk at the station using exact change or a debit card. The parking lot offers 123 spots, with a $1 daily fee rate to park. Annual parking permits can be purchased online for $250, and semiannual permits for $125.
In an interview with the Herald News, Romeoville Mayor John Noak said that the lack of a historic downtown in Romeoville allows for more opportunity to add parking spaces and expand if the demand increases. Towns with a downtown area, such as Lockport and Plainfield, do not have the luxury of larger stations due to historical regulations.
“Once completed, this new station will mean more people in Romeoville and the surrounding area will be able to spend less of their valuable time each day driving on congested roads or traveling to less convenient Metra stations,” said U.S. Representative Dan Lipinski in a press release from May 2017.
Talks of the new station began in 2008, when Citgo Petroleum Company wanted to build a new plant, which would require an additional parking lot across from the plant located on 135th. The Village of Romeoville and Citgo came to an agreement that Romeoville could lease eight acres of the land owned by Citgo to build the new station, in exchange for permits that allowed for a new parking lot.
The finished station was expected to cost approximately $4.9 million, and the Village of Romeoville received $3.9 million in grants to fund the project for this new station. The grant was provided by Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Grant (CMAQ).
CMAQ grants are determined by how many emissions and vehicles are eliminated from the roads. A different grant was received from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program, which allowed for pedestrian crossing from 135th Street.