DOWNTOWN — A new bus depot aimed at better connecting Downtown commuters opens Sunday next to Union Station.
The $41 million Union Station Transit Center will serve six different bus routes at 300 S. Canal St. Public art symbolizing the movement of Chicago's transit systems will greet riders, and an underground path will allow them into Union Station without crossing the street.
Officials including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said Tuesday the bus depot is another sign of new life at Union Station, a 90-year-old behemoth that serves 120,000 commuters every weekday but still operates under its capacity.
"I used to say [Union Station] fights below its weight class," Emanuel said. "This project is moving our entire revitalization and making Union Station a major economic engine for the city."
New art by James Jankowiak in the new bus depot. [DNAinfo/David Matthews]
Once open the station will serve the city's 1, 28, 121, 124, 151 and 156 bus routes. The station is drawing $30 million in federal funding.
"That's my job," Durbin quipped.
The bus station is the latest addition to the new Loop Link, which the city rolled out late last year in an attempt to better connect the east and west ends of Downtown. The link added new bus and bicycle lanes on busy Loop streets, but some commuters have decried the new buses' lack of pace.
The depot is also part of a massive effort to revitalize Union Station, an Art Deco colossus that first opened in 1925. Local, state, and federal authorities plan to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to rehab the station, and Amtrak spent $2 million last year replacing its famous marble stairs near the station's Great Hall. The station also has a new lounge and added air conditioning to the Great Hall.
Plans eventually call to extend the Downtown Pedway from the Blue Line to Union Station, said Ray Lang, the station's president.
Check the slideshow above or scroll down below for more photos of the new bus depot:
[All photos by DNAinfo/David Matthews]
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