Niles planning to study creation of Metra station





by BRIAN NADIG

The Village of Niles plans to conduct a feasibility study on the possible creation of a Metra train station along Lehigh Avenue between Touhy and Jarvis avenues in an effort to help revitalize the area.

"This location is in close proximity to the planned Touhy Avenue Triangle District and its regional attractions – open space, entertainment and dining. Within 1Ú2 mile of the proposed site are 309 operating businesses that collectively employ between 7,500-9,000 persons.

"Niles is currently the second most populous Cook County community to be located on a rail line but lacking a Metra station (Streamwood is bigger). Residents of Niles and visitors to Niles must currently use stations in Chicago (Edgebrook) or Morton Grove. These alternative stations are inadequate. Morton Grove’s parking is 97 percent utilized and Edgebrook has a 90 percent utilization rate.

"Morton Grove has one connecting bus route and it does not serve Niles. Edgebrook has bus service but it doesn’t connect to the Touhy Avenue employment center. Neither station is easily accessed by walking or bicycling from Niles," the village stated in its request for proposals from planning firms seeking to conduct the study.

The village issued the request for proposals on Jan. 10 and set a Jan. 31 deadline for submissions.

The request also states that the proposed location for a train station makes sense given that Touhy "is one of the most popular east-west routes in the northern suburbs (33,000-plus vehicles a day in some areas). The road extends from Lake Michigan (in Chicago) to Elk Grove Village while traveling though Lincolnwood, Skokie, Niles, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Rosemont."

A Niles train station also would be convenient for the 512 workers at the Shure Corporation headquarters, 5800 W. Touhy Ave., and the more than 200 workers at the WW Grainger Corporate Office, 7300 N. Melvina Ave., according to the village.

The station also would support efforts to reduce resident’s dependence on motor vehicle travel, reducing the area’s carbon footprint by promoting alternative modes of transportation, including commuter rail, bus, walking and bicycling, according to the village.

A local Metra stop also could serve as a catalyst in Niles for a transit-oriented development, which calls for an influx of retail and residential uses near public transportation stations, the request said.

The study’s goals would be to determine whether a new station "can be constructed given the physical parameters of available sites, would be compatible with existing and projected Metra and Amtrak service along the Milwaukee District North Corridor, and would catalyze the redevelopment of the adjacent properties," the request said.

The village has a population of about 29,800 people.



SHOWN IS AN AREA North of Touhy Avenue and south of Jarvis Avenue that would be part of a planned feasibility study that the Village of Niles would conduct regarding the construction of a possible Metra station in an effort to help revitalize the area.
Above, a Metra train crosses Touhy and shown below is open land that is part of the Shure headquarters building, 5800 W. Touhy Ave., Niles, in the planned study area.
(Photo above by Kevin Gross)
(Photo below by Cyryl Jakubowski)