New $5 million project to benefit commuters

Madhu Mayer | 1/12/2017, midnight
The Village of Plainfield is moving ahead with plans to construct a park-n-ride facility to serve Pace bus customers who ...
Pace Bus service has expanded and proven popular for commuters heading to work in downtown Chicago. Photo by Brock A. Stein

The Village of Plainfield is moving ahead with plans to construct a park-n-ride facility to serve Pace bus customers who commute for work to downtown Chicago.

Right now, commuters park in Plainfield Village Hall and nearby streets prior to boarding the bus every morning. But the intergovernmental agreement approved by the Plainfield Village Board Monday with Pace calls for a non-exclusive license to buy 58 acres of unimproved village-owned property on Van Dyke Road adjacent to EJ&E Railroad to build the park-n-ride facility.

Village Administrator Brian Murphy said the project would cost $5.8 million, of which $1 million is for engineering. Construction costs include drainage, signage, lighting pavement markings, sanitary sewer, a 1,000-square-foot shelter with restrooms and water main work. Terms of the agreement states that Pace will reimburse the village for all design, engineering, construction oversight and construction costs of the facility, in an amount not to exceed $5.8 million.

Once constructed, Murphy said the park-n-ride facility would accommodate up to 400 parking spaces and an additional 200 adjacent parking spaces as expansion. Pace and the village also envision the construction of a Pace bus garage on the property in the future, he added.

While village trustee Ed O'Rourke on Monday said he is glad the much-needed transportation project is moving forward, he was concerned about how Plainfield would pay for the project until Pace reimburses the expenditures.

"At three different points during the design, we pay the design firm," answered Murphy. "Those payments would be approved by Pace ... and Pace will reimburse us within 30 days."

Traci Pleckham, director of management services for the village, said she does not foresee a problem with Plainfield fronting the money as the municipality has around $8 million in its capital fund. Plus, Murphy said, expenditures would not occur until the next budget year.

As the board was glad to hear Pace and the village would not be charging commuters to park in the lot at this time, trustee Garrett Peck said the bus option allows Plainfield residents to take public transportation to work instead of sitting in their cars on gridlocked I-55. Plus, he said, local businesses should see their profits increase as commuters who live in Plainfield and nearby communities put gas in their cars, stop at the local dry cleaner or eat in restaurants as they trek their way to and from work.

The project is contingent upon Pace's receipt of funding approval and any other required approvals from the Pace Board of Directors and/or the Regional Transportation Authority.