Chicago Metra Prepares for NATO Summit
Metra, a commuter train service, announced its plans to ramp up security for the NATO Summit, including closing 26 stations on Monday, May 21, according to an article by the Chicago Sun-Times.
Regular service will be offered on 10 of Metra's 11 lines, all except the Electric Line, which runs under the site of the NATO Summit, McCormick Place. No inbound Metra Electric Line trains will run between noon and 6 p.m. on May 21. Although the summit ends at noon, the transit agency wanted to allow for extra time should the summit not end on schedule, the Sun-Times reports.
“Certainly we understand the inconvenience that NATO creates for the public and Metra riders. We’ve worked with the Secret Service and local police departments to develop a plan focused on safety, with minimal impact to our riders,” Metra CEO Alex Clifford said in the article.
Five Metra Electric stations – 47th Street, 27th Street, McCormick Place, 18th Street and Museum Campus/11th Street — will be closed from May 19 to 21.
Twenty-one other stations will be closed on May 21 only. Metra will post signs to inform affected riders of alternate routes.
Metra is also adding extra safety restrictions, such as additional screening on all three days for all Metra lines, including baggage checks, with more extensive checks for Electric Line riders, who are told to arrive at least 15 minutes early and expect delays, the Sun-Times reports.
“We have a limited amount of manpower with which to accomplish the security screening that must occur through this event. And on Monday we have far more riders than we do on Saturdays and Sundays so what we did is we picked stations that had ridership less than 200 trips per day, and those are the ones that will be closed,” Clifford said.
Other security changes include:
- Passengers may only have one bag, not to exceed 15 inches by 4 inches deep.
- No food or drink, including coffee, will be allowed onboard.
- No backpacks or bicycles will be allowed.
- Security guards may not carry weapons on board.
- All law enforcement officers must show ID.
The Metra Electric main line serves about 14,000 riders on weekdays, 2,500 riders on Saturdays and about 1,800 riders on Sundays. The South Chicago branch carries about 2,800 riders on weekdays, 1,100 riders on Saturdays and 450 riders on Sundays. The Blue Island branch alone, which will be closed May 21, carries about 1,300 riders on weekdays, 325 riders on Saturdays, the Sun-Times reports.