By Igor Studenkov | Enterprise Staff
Plainfield commuters taking Pace express buses to work will soon have more places to park.
The transit agency’s Board of Directors voted unanimously to approve a lease agreement with Larry’s Diner, 24522 Lockport St.
Starting Feb. 1, the buses that serve Plainfield will stop at the diner, where 75 parking spaces will be reserved for commuters.
Pace spokesman Patrick Wilmot said this is intended to be a temporary measure to relieve overcrowding, and that the agency and the village of Plainfield are working together to find a more permanent solution.
Pace operates two express buses between Plainfield and the city of Chicago.
Both routes start at the park-and-ride near Plainfield Village Hall. Route 755 travels to Chicago Union Station, making stops in Bolingbrook, the Damen Pink ‘L’ line station, the Illinois Medical District and University of Illinois at Chicago’s East Campus.
Route 855 runs to the Magnificent Mile shopping corridor, making stops at Burr Ridge and several points in downtown Chicago.
Both routes mostly run on Interstate 55/Stevenson Expressway until they reach the city, and buses are allowed to ride on the shoulder in certain sections of the highway if the traffic slows down to less than 30 mph.
The routes are geared toward workplace commuters, with buses going into Chicago in the morning and heading back to Plainfield in the afternoon.
Unlike the majority of Pace routes, they use coach-style buses with on-board Wi-Fi.
Riders can either pay $4 per trip or buy a $140 monthly pass.
Wilmot told The Enterprise that ridership has been growing quickly, reaching 264 boardings a day.
The park-and-ride didn’t have enough parking spaces to accommodate everyone, which put strain on parking in the surrounding area.
For the past few years, Pace has been working with the village of Plainfield to solve this problem.
“The leasing of parking at Larry’s is a short-term solution,” explained Wilmot. “We will continue working together to find a long-term solution.”
The lease will start in February and run for two years.
Pace will have the option to renew the lease for two more years a total of two times.
Now that the lease agreement has been approved, the next step is to get Larry’s parking lot ready for the commuters.
“The owners of the property will make some upgrades to lighting, and Pace will place new signage,” said Wilmot.