New Oak Forest Train Station
On December 20, 2013, the new Metra train station at 159th Street and Cicero Avenue was officially opened to the public. The new Rock Island Metra stop is a state-of-the-art train station with a geothermal heating system that provides heat to not only the station but a warming shelter for our commuters. The station will also include bike parking and lockers, restroom facilities, indoor/outdoor seated waiting areas, and a convenient drop-off/pick-up zone.
The new station was made possible by $2.5 million in state and federal grants and the tireless support from Illinois State Senator Maggie Crotty, Congressman Bobby Rush, Cook County Commissioner Joan Patricia Murphy, Metra, the Regional Transportation Authority, South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
At the ribbon cutting, Mayor Hank Kuspa stated, "I can't think of a better Christmas gift for commuters. They have been very patient throughout the construction of the train station. We look forward to bringing more amenities to this area for commuters, residents and visitors to enjoy as we continue to create a dynamic, transit-oriented development at 159th and Cicero Avenue."
For train times, please visit Metra's Rock Island Train Schedule.
The completion of the new train station has set the new parking patterns for the future of this area. The parking lots at Oak Street, 157th Street and Waverly Avenue are still the main lots for daily parking. New accessible, handicapped parking is now available directly adjacent to the Metra station and a drop-off/pick-up zone is also available in front of the train station entrance. A new parking plan is currently underway and will be provided here shortly.If you are unsure about where you should park or questions about handicap accessibility, please call Oak Forest Public Works at 708- 535-4090.
Gateway Development Update
The Gateway development has been a planned transit oriented development in the city for many years now. After the master plans were completed and approved, the developer in place brought in a CVS pharmacy and the First National Bank on two of the commercial pads. Unfortunately, the economy crashed creating what many called the Great Recession. A project that gained traction and movement was now halted, and its developer falling victim to the economy.
Now the city has once again gained some traction in the Gateway. The previous developers have stepped aside and the city is currently seeking a new developer for the site. A request for interested parties was posted and the responses coming in have gained national interest. On top of this, the city is finalizing a relocation agreement with the Wille Bros. concrete plant to move their operation once a developer is secured for the project site, which is a necessary component to the success of the Gateway area.
With a new developer coming into place, a Wille Bros. relocation agreement, and a newly constructed state-of-the-art train station, the Gateway development has started to gain that traction lost in 2008. We will continue to build on this momentum in 2014 and help make this a development the citizens of Oak Forest can be proud of.