DeKalb city to host public information meetings on Metra feasibility study findings

A train arrives Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, at the Elburn Metra Station.

DeKALB – The city of DeKalb this week published findings on a study that looked into whether a Metra passenger train line could extend into DeKalb County, connecting the area with a direct route to Chicago.

The findings, published Thursday ahead of Monday’s DeKalb City Council meeting, will be the subject of three opportunities next week for DeKalb-area residents to learn more about what the data shows. Those interested can attend a presentation scheduled during the council meeting – set for 6 p.m. Monday in the Yusunas Room of the DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak. St. – or two community meetings.

A representative from the Chicago-based Sam Schwartz Consulting LLC – which contracted with the city for $98,379 in January to compile the study – is expected to give a presentation on the results to DeKalb alderpersons Monday.

The study’s complete findings can be read at www.cityofdekalb.com/AgendaCenter.

The first community meeting will be in person from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday in the Yusunas Room at the DeKalb library. The second meeting will be held virtually at noon Thursday. The Zoom meeting link can be found at cityofdekalb.com/metra.

The community meetings are the next step in the city’s efforts to keep the public informed and solicit resident feedback about possible Metra lines.

The DeKalb Metra Extension Feasibility Study survey makes up a portion of a multipart study aiming to determine the feasibility of extending Metra’s Union Pacific West line from the Elburn station to DeKalb. City leaders throughout the spring have expressed strong support for the endeavor, saying it also would aid Northern Illinois University enrollment.

Currently, if residents and community members would like to access Metra from DeKalb, there’s a shuttle bus to help facilitate their public transportation options.

The city also has devoted a downtown lot to free parking for those wishing to take the transit bus to Elburn instead of parking at the Elburn train station. Elburn bus trips also have increased in frequency.

The study takes a close look at various factors, including travel market conditions between DeKalb and the Chicago metropolitan area, the number of potential riders, potential costs and other requirements for the service extension and funding opportunities.

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