The Union Station Transit Center (300 South Canal Street) is moving forward, trying to take some of the snarl out of the mess that is South Canal Street. The Chicago Architecture Blog’s Daniel Schell rapidly transited the Loop on a Divvy bike to bring us these pictures of the construction progress.
The completed project will serve as an intermodal connector linking commuters on Amtrak and Metra trains with CTA buses. There will even be an elevator allowing direct access from the bus shelter to the train platforms. More importantly, it will pull buses out of the current cacophonous staging area in front of Union Station on Canal Street, which is already clogged with taxis and lost suburbanites navigating one way streets and loading zones for the first time.
It also marks the southeast end of the so-called Loop Link express bus corridor that will shuttle CTA #J14, #19, #20, #56, #60, #124, #125 and #157 buses across the heart of the Loop with minimal delay. The buses get their own lane, and get a green light at intersections before competing traffic in neighboring lanes so they don’t have to wait for cars making left turns through the bus lane.
The Loop Link portion of Canal Street will be reconfigured so that all of the lanes are moving the same direction (north), with two through lanes on the left, followed by a taxi/car loading zone, a pedestrian island, a bus lane, and then a bus loading lane on the right curb.