New Joliet train station to have a classic feel
By Bob Okon email@example.com May 30, 2012 8:14PM
A schematic design of the proposed Joliet Gateway Center. | Supplied image
Updated: July 6, 2012 9:26AM
JOLIET — Clip-clop.
That’s the sound of shoes on a train station floor that architect Charles Smith said he wants to incorporate into what he described as a transportation district that will have an effect on six blocks of downtown Joliet.
Smith, vice president of architecture and planning with Knight Engineers & Architects, presented a report Wednesday on the design for the future development right down to the clip-clop sound effect.
Describing to the Joliet City Council Land Use Committee the detail going into the train station, Smith said, “You get this clippy-cloppy noise. You know you’re in a train station. ...We said we want that clippy-cloppy noise.”
The clip-clop effect was a small part of the presentation, but it did reflect the attempt to incorporate classic elements into the new transportation center.
City officials said construction could start by August on new parking lots. A bus station could be built next year. In all, the construction is expected to last at least three years with probably the biggest part of the job being a realignment of rail running through downtown Joliet. The $42 million project is being financed largely with a $32 million state grant.
The plan has changed from an original concept of one large building that would serve as a central hub for trains, buses and other modes of transportation.
Now, there will be two smaller buildings — a bus and train station. They’re being called “portals” designed to make each facility more convenient for the separate riders.
But the entire development, which will include the existing Union Station, will be tied together by design and actually stretch out to affect six city blocks, Smith said.
Part of that impact would come from extended train boarding areas that will stretch as far as Van Buren Street for the Metra Heritage Corridor Line and Eastern Avenue for the Metra Rock Island Line.
The new train station will be built across the tracks to the east of Union Station.
The bus station will be built to the south of Union Station with a turnaround drive extended to Marion Street. A section of New Street would be eliminated to create a pedestrian plaza in front of the bus station.
Two other plazas would be created along Jefferson Street on the north end of Union Station and on the north end of new train station.
The new train and bus stations would be designed with limestone to complement but not replicate Union Station, Smith said.
“We’re trying to build something that really becomes an urban focal point and not just moving commuters to buses and trains,” Smith said.
The presentation got a favorable review from city officials and interested citizens, who applauded Smith at one point for the design of the future development.
Committee Chairman Don Fisher said he liked the concept of incorporating classic Joliet architecture into the new buildings without trying to imitate the design of Union Station.
“You don’t want to mirror something as grand as Union Station,” Fisher said. “But you want to take elements of it so it looks like it belongs there.”
Councilwoman Jan Quillman said she appreciated the detail of the plan “right down to that clip, clop, clop, and I know what you’re saying. I know that sound.”