It's not the mayor's coveted express rail link, but it's something resembling progressive intermodal transit planning for O'Hare. In the works for some time as part of the O'Hare Modernization Program, the city and airport are interested in building an intermodal facility on 33 acres of surface lot at Mannheim Road north of Zemke Boulevard. The plan has been touted before as a consolidation of parking, rental cars, bus service and Metra service that would clear space for a runway extension and a possible Western Terminal 7. However long it takes for that terminal to arrive, it looks like the transportation project will get a move-on soon. The Feds have "invited an application" from the city for a $292M loan specifically for the project depicted in renderings above and below ($884M total cost). All rental car and long-term parking will join together in one garage (space for 4,100 rental cars and 2,000 private cars). Consolidation is nice and all, but a bigger aspect is the plan is to build around the Metra Transfer Station including a link to the ATS train (extended onto the site) and regional buses. At one edge of the facility is the "transit oriented development area" — for now a vague depiction of a tree-studded parking area where some intensified development may occur in the future.
At the same time that this plan moves closer to reality, the city has received actual loan approval for its planned Riverwalk extension: $99M deemed vital for the six-block construction. A decade of waiting is about to end.
·Mayor Emanuel and Secretary LaHood announce steps toward financing for O'Hare Intermodal Facility [City of Chicago]
·City Getting Nearly $400M for riverwalk, O'Hare facility [Crain's]
·Chicago Riverwalk Coverage [Curbed Chicago]