Long after I stopped using Randolph Street Station, the long-promised (20 years?) renovation actually happened. Now, Paul Beitler — one of those rare businessmen who really does care about how the public experiences his buildings, recently investing millions into the Pittsfield and 360 N. Michigan with no obviously huge payoff — has been hired to manage the station. Sure, no one wants an odorous chicken shack (hah) in their train station, but Beitler would be remiss to forget that this station serves South Siders–and could provide convenient competition for overpriced Millennium Park concessionaires.
In other Metra news, the selection of Arlene Mulder for a Cook County board seat bodes fairly well for the region. A stronger voice from suburban Cook County on the board might counteract Jeff Ladd’s stridently anti-Cook stance (odd, considering most of Metra’s budget comes from Cook), and Mulder brings great experience in the value of transit oriented development to an agency which typically prefers its stations surrounded by parking.