Parking in Bloomington, IL

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Gingee

OBS Chief
Joined
Nov 21, 2004
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924
I know you can park on the top deck in Bloomington while traveling on Amtrak. What I am wondering is how far down the incline can you park? Like can you park where there may be a little roof over your car or do you have to stay on the very top? Does that make sense?
 

Saddleshoes

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
32
I think I understand your question.

I think you are asking about Amtrak long term parking at the Bloomington-Normal IL station. (The short term parking is within the same building as the station and you can park on any level.)

The long term parking is in a parking deck a block and a half North of the station. You DO have to park on the very top level of that deck. I don't recall any place were you can get under a little cover on that deck. There is a desk right next to the Amtrak check in counter were the "parking lot people" work out of and they will have some minor paper work to fill out prior to your using the long term parking. I don't think there is a charge for Amtrak ticket holder using the long term parking.

PS

If you have a few minutes check out the design of the traffic circle right in front of the Uptown Station. It is way cool. They are using runoff storm water in an artistic way.

If you a long bit of time Uptown Normal is a funky "college town" area to checkout with lots of good eateries. (Maggie Miley's Irish Pub, a block Northeast of the station, is a favorite at our house.)
 

Everydaymatters

Conductor
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
3,210
Gingee, for short trips, I always park in the short term lot adjoining the station. The convenience of being in a covered location, close to the elevator, and safety make it well worth the charge. I am fortunate enough to live close to BNL and for the ten-plus days trips, a relative usually drops me off and picks me up.

Galesburg would be another alternative, where you could take the Ambus from GBB to BNL, but I think this has already been discussed and you did not like the bus.

Your questions usually come up when you are planning a cruise, and if this is the case then you might feel the cost at about $9/day is too exorbitant, but if you can fit it into your budget, it is well worth the expense.
 

NorthShore

Conductor
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Sep 3, 2013
Messages
1,012
I haven't been through there since the new station opened. Is it basically in the same location as the previous place? What did they do, build out in the old parking lot?
 

fillyjonk

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Mar 10, 2011
Messages
476
I haven't been through there since the new station opened. Is it basically in the same location as the previous place? What did they do, build out in the old parking lot?
The new station is on the opposite side of the tracks from the smaller older station. I guess it's possible to cross from the old parking lot but when I was there last I saw no one parked there so I don't know if they've closed off the entrance to the lot or not. (When I go to visit family, they park in one of the free half-hour-only downtown lots to pick me up or drop me off).

There are plans afoot to use BOTH tracks for trains, and a grand scheme to build either an overpass or underpass from the station to get to the outer track. I am not sure how excavating an underpass under existing tracks would work....

(My parents live in Normal and they have described much of what's going on in the old downtown - now called Uptown - derisively as a Grand Scheme. (I also wonder if there isn't some implication to such an insistence on rebranding "downtown" as "Uptown.")

Also given the shaky state of Illinois' finances and the fact that they fund a number of the trains, I kind of wonder if the plan to someday use both tracks is a bit of a pipe dream.
 

Eric S

Conductor
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Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,482
Construction of the second platform along the south/east side of the tracks next to the former station is supposed to be either underway or begin soon (recent reports and articles mentioned late spring or early summer). I believe the plans for the underpass have been delayed until a future phase and that initially an at-grade crossing will be built and used to connect both platforms.
 

Everydaymatters

Conductor
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The original plan had been for an overpass, but in order to accommodate the people bicycling and walking along the Constitution Trail, it was decided to make it an underpass. I wonder how that is going to work for people hauling luggage and bicyclist using the underpass at the same time. Are there other similar underpasses where bikers and travelers share the space?
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
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May 6, 2011
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The original plan had been for an overpass, but in order to accommodate the people bicycling and walking along the Constitution Trail, it was decided to make it an underpass. I wonder how that is going to work for people hauling luggage and bicyclist using the underpass at the same time. Are there other similar underpasses where bikers and travelers share the space?
Bicyclists and walkers share lots of paths. If the path is narrow, then the cyclists (bikers refers to motorcycle riders) are usually told (by signs) to walk their bikes.
 

Eric S

Conductor
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Dec 19, 2009
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There are many stations with tracks elevated on an embankment where train passengers use a regular sidewalk underpass. I would imagine there are at least a few that use a shared path (bicycle/pedestrian) as well.
 

fillyjonk

Lead Service Attendant
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Mar 10, 2011
Messages
476
The original plan had been for an overpass, but in order to accommodate the people bicycling and walking along the Constitution Trail, it was decided to make it an underpass. I wonder how that is going to work for people hauling luggage and bicyclist using the underpass at the same time. Are there other similar underpasses where bikers and travelers share the space?
Or ADA. How does someone who uses a walker or a wheelchair manage? Are they going to have elevators on both sides?
 

Eric S

Conductor
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My guess would be ramp rather than elevator, since it will connect with a biking/walking trail. But that's just a guess.
 

Everydaymatters

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From what I have read, there will be no elevators. It will be an underpass, which would probably mean a gradual ramp under the tracks on both ends. That's a good question about the ADA. I use a walker, which is narrow enough, but a wheelchair is wider. I hope the other Betty is correct that there would be signs telling cyclists to walk their bikes.
 

Eric S

Conductor
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Signs could be added (or removed) pretty easily - not sure they'd be seen and obeyed, though. Also, from the perspective of bicyclists using the underpass, there are just a few occasions during the day that there would be significant numbers of Amtrak passengers using the underpass - most of the time there'd be no need or reason to walk their bikes. I'd say it's more important that any underpass be sufficiently wide enough that the various different groups of users (bicyclists, pedestrians, train passengers) can use it without interfering with each other.

One aspect of this being a multi-use underpass that just occurred to me is that it will likely make it difficult for Amtrak to impose its obnoxious platform controls.
 
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Everydaymatters

Conductor
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Thanks, Betty. Here in BNL it is different than the larger cities. There is open access to the platform. Possibly because there are only a handful of trains that come in each day.
 

Eric S

Conductor
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Thanks, Betty. Here in BNL it is different than the larger cities. There is open access to the platform. Possibly because there are only a handful of trains that come in each day.
Yeah, that's what I was referring to. There are some stations with just a handful of trains a day that still have restricted access to platforms. If the planned underpass (or overpass) at BNL was accessed directly through the station, rather than being a public multi-use path, I would not be surprised if it were closed except at train time.
 

fillyjonk

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476
From what I have read, there will be no elevators. It will be an underpass, which would probably mean a gradual ramp under the tracks on both ends. That's a good question about the ADA. I use a walker, which is narrow enough, but a wheelchair is wider. I hope the other Betty is correct that there would be signs telling cyclists to walk their bikes.
That's gonna have to be a hell of an incline to that ramp....there is not that much space between the station and the tracks, unless they do something like start the ramp INSIDE the station and excavate from in there.

Also, given Illinois' precarious finances, I really wonder if we're ever really going to see that second track used, or if this is just going to be another expensive project to line the pockets of some politically-connected contractor.
 

CCC1007

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From what I have read, there will be no elevators. It will be an underpass, which would probably mean a gradual ramp under the tracks on both ends. That's a good question about the ADA. I use a walker, which is narrow enough, but a wheelchair is wider. I hope the other Betty is correct that there would be signs telling cyclists to walk their bikes.
That's gonna have to be a hell of an incline to that ramp....there is not that much space between the station and the tracks, unless they do something like start the ramp INSIDE the station and excavate from in there.

Also, given Illinois' precarious finances, I really wonder if we're ever really going to see that second track used, or if this is just going to be another expensive project to line the pockets of some politically-connected contractor.
I have been picturing it as two ramps parallel to the tracks that connect both platforms to the tunnel.
 

Everydaymatters

Conductor
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It will be interesting watching where and how the ramp is built. I read that they will be remodeling the station across the tracks and until the tunnel is built, there will be a pedestrian cross walk to get from one side to the other. They had grants, plans, etc., everything all in place and ready to go to build the overpass when someone decided that building the underpass was a better idea in order to allow continuation of the bike trail.
 

Eric S

Conductor
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Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,482
From what I have read, there will be no elevators. It will be an underpass, which would probably mean a gradual ramp under the tracks on both ends. That's a good question about the ADA. I use a walker, which is narrow enough, but a wheelchair is wider. I hope the other Betty is correct that there would be signs telling cyclists to walk their bikes.
That's gonna have to be a hell of an incline to that ramp....there is not that much space between the station and the tracks, unless they do something like start the ramp INSIDE the station and excavate from in there.

Also, given Illinois' precarious finances, I really wonder if we're ever really going to see that second track used, or if this is just going to be another expensive project to line the pockets of some politically-connected contractor.
The work on the second platform is funded by the federal high speed rail grant. Work on the underpass, if/when that takes place, would be paid for by local and/or federal funds. The state's fiscal situation likely will not be a major factor here.

EDIT: Check out page 51 of this pdf. It shows what the Town of Normal has been looking at in terms of the underpass. The ramps would be aligned roughly north-south to connect with the Constitution Trail. There would be stairs next to the station platforms. And it mentions elevators next to the platforms as well.
 
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Everydaymatters

Conductor
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
3,210
From what I have read, there will be no elevators. It will be an underpass, which would probably mean a gradual ramp under the tracks on both ends. That's a good question about the ADA. I use a walker, which is narrow enough, but a wheelchair is wider. I hope the other Betty is correct that there would be signs telling cyclists to walk their bikes.
That's gonna have to be a hell of an incline to that ramp....there is not that much space between the station and the tracks, unless they do something like start the ramp INSIDE the station and excavate from in there.

Also, given Illinois' precarious finances, I really wonder if we're ever really going to see that second track used, or if this is just going to be another expensive project to line the pockets of some politically-connected contractor.
The work on the second platform is funded by the federal high speed rail grant. Work on the underpass, if/when that takes place, would be paid for by local and/or federal funds. The state's fiscal situation likely will not be a major factor here.

EDIT: Check out page 51 of this pdf. It shows what the Town of Normal has been looking at in terms of the underpass. The ramps would be aligned roughly north-south to connect with the Constitution Trail. There would be stairs next to the station platforms. And it mentions elevators next to the platforms as well.
Thanks, Eric. This is fascinating. That looks like a lot of stairs for pax with suitcases to traverse. Most would probably use the elevators. I like it!
 
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