Plans unveiled to redesign B.C.’s Amtrak station

From the Battle Creek Enquirer

A peek at the future of Battle Creek’s downtown passenger train station was released Wednesday.

The plans by local firm Architects Incorporated would move the station’s main entrance to face McCamly Street and add more outdoor canopies for waiting passengers.

“I think we’re going to have a really nice facility when we’re done, and I hope people are proud of it and more inclined to use it,” said Larry Bowron, who recently was named the city’s transportation director after filling the position on an interim basis for more than a year.

Drawings of the redesigned interior are not finalized, but Bowron said the station’s dated insides will be improved to give the station a warmer and welcoming feel.

The $3.6 million project was announced in January 2010 as part of $40 million in federal economic stimulus money awarded to Michigan to improve the rail corridor linking Detroit and Chicago. Stations in Dearborn and Troy also are getting upgrades.

The funding and similar grants are part of a federal push to create a high-speed rail line across southern Michigan that would cut through Calhoun County.

The Battle Creek station plans also call for a more secure long-term parking area that passengers would continue to access from Capital Avenue.

Bowron said vehicle break-ins had discouraged people from using the long-term parking, but a new fence and video monitoring system should make people more comfortable about leaving their cars at the station overnight. Additional lighting also will help security and make the station more visible, he said.

The city is using another stimulus award to relocate the bus transfer center from next to the train station to across McCamly Street. The Battle Creek City Commission on Tuesday approved a contract worth $230,262 for the project, and Bowron said work could start next week.

He said he hoped to have a contract for the station redesign finalized in late June. Work would then begin after July 4 and take about eight months to complete.

The project won’t interfere with Amtrak’s service schedule but will require Amtrak personnel be temporarily relocated to Kalamazoo, which will affect ticketing, Bowron said.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said when a ticketing window isn’t open, the company will work to maintain service either through its electronic ticketing kiosk or other means. Customers won’t have to pay extra fees in this case, he said.

The station was built in 1982. Amtrak reported that it served as the starting point or end destination for 52,000 passengers last year.