Metra hopes plan eases overcrowding at Union Station

  • Metra's plan would channel more riders through the Great Hall at Union Station in Chicago.

    Metra's plan would channel more riders through the Great Hall at Union Station in Chicago. Daily Herald file photo

Updated 12/16/2014 8:18 PM

There's no greater buzz-kill after attending a ticker-tape parade celebrating your favorite team's winning season than to walk into Union Station and face claustrophobic conditions and confusion.

But that's the situation thousands of commuters have endured on a number of occasions including the 2010 Blackhawks victory parade or during serious service disruptions.


Tuesday, Metra and Amtrak officials presented a plan they hope will turn overcrowding into order during afternoon rush hour, when up to 21,000 riders board trains.

The concept is to channel passengers headed for the South Concourse, which serves the BNSF, Heritage Corridor and SouthWest Service lines, through the more spacious Great Hall area instead of through the lower food court level.

Specifically, if significant problems or crowds are expected for the afternoon rush hour, officials would restrict the flow of people so they can enter the South Concourse only from a wide corridor connecting to the Great Hall and the Metra ticketing area.

The corridor would be used as a place for passengers to line up and proceed to the South Concourse as trains are ready.

In such events, Metra would close the main escalators and stairs that feed into the food court. Riders who normally enter Union Station at Jackson Street and the Chicago River would have to use doors at the north entrances of the complex.

Passengers who enter Union Station from Clinton/Adams streets or Clinton/Jackson streets would be channeled through the Great Hall.

Amtrak is the owner of Union Station.

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