The following is a written response from the Village of Glenview administration in response to the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha rail line expansion, in which Metra reversed its proposal for a holding track in Lake Forest but maintained its plans to go forward with it in other communities including Glenview and Northbrook:
Friday, May 25, 2018 – The Village of Glenview this week received a copy of a letter from Metra CEO/Chairman James Derwinski to the Wisconsin and Illinois departments of transportation in regards to the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha Corridor Environmental
This proposed $195 million project would increase Amtrak’s Hiawatha Service from seven to 10 round trips daily between Chicago and Milwaukee on the tracks partially owned by and shared with Metra. To accommodate the additional Amtrak trains and
alleviate existing service delays, freight trains would be held on a new 2-mile-long holding track installed adjacent to Union Pacific’s tracks in west Glenview, and a new switch and universal crossover would be installed on Metra’s tracks south of Dewes
The letter informed WisDOT and IDOT that Metra is no longer requesting another holding track from Rondout to Lake Forest as it is not needed for Metra’s current operations, and instead requests that a shorter holding track be built south of Rondout.
The letter reiterates Metra’s desire for the 2-mile-long freight train holding track from Techny Road in Northbrook south to West Lake Avenue in Glenview.
The Village of Glenview remains opposed to the Amtrak-Hiawatha expansion project as proposed. Among other concerns, it’s not clear why the Amtrak service expansion is necessary, given current ridership on the Hiawatha line is only at 39 percent of capacity.
Also, a draft Environmental Assessment released in November 2016 provides no air quality, noise and other health and safety impacts for residents living adjacent to the proposed holding track, nor does it include a Freight Impact Study.
The Village remains committed to the belief that a more thorough analysis of alternatives needs to be completed and that significant negative impacts of the freight track portion of the project in Glenview need to be mitigated in a more comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement.
Village officials are reviewing the updated information from Metra and expect to have additional responses in the near future.
Submitted by the Village of Glenview