Tuesday, November 17, 2009

McHenry Community College asks for Metra station

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McHenry Community College asks for Metra station | Railway Track & Structures

The McHenry County College Board of Trustees is requesting more analysis of the proposed site of a new Metra station in Crystal Lake, Ill., according to the Northwest Herald. Metra's Board of Directors recently approved a tentative $1.53-million deal to buy land for a new stop along the Union Pacific Northwest Line in unincorporated Ridgefield on Country Club Road at Prairie Drive.

MCC trustees said at a Committee of the Whole meeting they would like to see a new Metra station within walking distance of the campus.

"[We hope Metra will] think of us and how we can access a train station in a more reasonable way than walking halfway to Woodstock," Chairman George Lowe said.

Trustees argue that a train station close to campus would directly benefit the students and the college. Students with access to the train, they said, would be able to seek internship opportunities in the Chicago area; the college would be able to attract a more diverse faculty and a closer station could ease parking concerns.

"If there were a train station nearby it would open up a number of opportunities for our students ... faculty and staff," Interim President Kathleen Plinske said.

Furthermore, the proposed station creates safety concerns, they argue.

"The current [proposal's] ... absence of sidewalks, road configuration issues and railroad crossing issues does not provide for safe and convenient access to MCC students and staff who may use the proposed Ridgefield Metra station," the resolution read.

Discussion about using some of college-owned property as a bargaining chip to get Metra to move closer to the college was criticized, but not entirely ruled out. Trustee Donna Kurtz suggested using a portion of the unused Gilger property as a potential station. The Gilger property is 57 acres owned by the college that straddles Tartan Drive and Ridgefield Road.

A resolution that will be sent to Metra was presented and action will be taken at the Nov. 19 board meeting.

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