New bus station, parking deck and more could open this year
By Bob Okon email@example.com January 15, 2013 3:44PM
Artist rendering of the new bus terminal. | Supplied
Updated: February 17, 2013 6:10AM
Joliet will have a new bus station in a year, one of many new developments coming soon in the way people use public transportation in the city.
Construction so far has started on new parking lots, something that commuters will appreciate given longtime complaints about the availability of parking at Joliet’s Union Station.
But work is scheduled to being in a matter of months on not only the bus station, but also a modern parking deck and relocation of the Rock Island train platform.
As soon as this time next year — maybe a little sooner or maybe a little later — the hub for Pace buses will no longer be outside the Will County Courthouse. Bus riders get an indoor station with a quick walk to the train if they need it.
Riders on the Rock Island line, the major Metra route between Joliet and Chicago, will catch the train on the east side of the tracks with indoor parking next to the platform.
This is the multimodal transportation center, conceived to bring all forms of public transit in Joliet into one place and first proposed publicly back in June 2009 by City Manager Thomas Thanas. The plan was unveiled as the city pursued a federal grant that never came. But the project got a big boost when the state provided $32 million because of Joliet’s location along the future high-speed rail route between Chicago and St. Louis.
“It’s a big project. A lots going to happen this year,” Councilman Don Fisher noted last week as the architect for the project gave the latest update on what’s now being called “Gateway Center.”
Bids for the work are going out by the end of this month or early February, said architect Charles Smith with Knight Engineers & Architects. The jobs should be awarded by June. And, the following work all is supposed to be completed about the same time at the end of the year or in early 2014:
A bus station with turnaround area providing indoor shelter for riders and a quick pickup point for Pace buses.
A six-level parking deck with 400 spaces, elevators, and room for a restaurant or coffee shop along Jefferson Street.
The relocated Rock Island platform alongside the parking deck and a temporary Heritage Corridor platform that Metra riders will use while the permanent platform is being built.
A temporary ticket station inside the parking deck that will serve train riders until a the new train station is built.
“We kind of chip away at the rock on an ongoing basis,” Smith said as he gave one of his periodic updates to the Joliet City Council Land Use Committee.
Still to be built is the new train station. Work is not likely to begin on the train station until 2014 because railroad tracks still need to be realigned — the most challenging part of the project. Smith said the train station probably will open in 2015.