To Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke, the bus shelters installed along Randall Road in recent years represent more than a safe place for riders to wait for a Pace bus.
The structures are part of a broader transit plan that will connect riders along Pace Routes 529 and 801 to such regional destinations as O’Hare Airport, he said.
“We’re putting the pieces into place at the moment,” said Schielke, who represents Kane County on the Pace suburban bus board.
The big-picture plan involves shoulder construction on Interstate 90, Schielke said, but having acceptable pickup points along Randall Road was an important component.
According to a Regional Transportation Authority news release, about $880,000 in grants from the Federal Transit Administration and the RTA’s Innovative, Coordination and Enhancement program funded the 33 bus shelters and concrete pads.
Installation began in fall 2012, according to the RTA, and everything was completed by the end of 2013.
The improvements were recommended in the Kane County Randall Road Pace Route 529 Plan, the village of South Elgin Transit Improvement Plan and the Kane County 2040 Long Range Transit Plan Community Planning projects, the release stated.
Pedestrian improvements along Pace Route 529 also were supported with a $2.4 million Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant, according to the RTA.
The release indicated that the Kane County Department of Transportation also has received $1.3 million in CMAQ funding for improvements along Pace Route 801, including bus shelters, crosswalk markings, pedestrian signals, accessible ramps and sidewalks.
“One of our goals is to eliminate barriers that may exist to a person riding our transit system, and these capital projects literally build the connections necessary to retain current riders and attract new ones,” RTA Acting Executive Director Leanne Redden said in the release.
Schielke said he has to temper his excitement because – although the project is moving as quickly as it can – it won’t happen overnight.
“It’s coming,” he said. “Good things are worth waiting for.”