More than $810,000 will provide riders access to transit

(CHICAGO) - The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is announcing the award of 16 projects through its Community Planning program. The RTA will allocate $810,000 to these projects, made up of approximately $368,000 of federal funding; $145,000 in locally matched funds and $297,000 of RTA funds. These dollars will support innovative projects to improve economic development near transit and increase transit usage throughout the region. This is the 16th year of this program.

The Community Planning program provides funding and planning assistance to projects that benefit the community and the regional transit system. The program includes a mix of transit-oriented development (TOD) planning, corridor planning, transit service planning and TOD implementation projects.

“Through these programs, the RTA awards funding and technical assistance for projects that create transit-supportive local plans. In addition to helping to reduce congestion and improve air quality, these plans help the RTA maximize use of its transit system and tap into new markets that may lead to the creation of more jobs and sustainable communities,” said Leanne Redden, Acting Executive Director of the RTA.

In May 2014, communities, counties, and transportation providers were invited to apply for funding and technical assistance through the RTA’s Community Planning program. Of the 22 applications received, 16 are included in the final program. For more information visit2015 Community Planning Program of Projects.

2015 Community Planning Project Award Recipients

Cook County

Village of Bartlett (Cook, DuPage)

This project will assist the Village with developing a TOD plan for its downtown/Metra station area. The plan will guide the Village in improving the downtown business district through strategies that support and enhance transit use for residents, businesses and visitors. The RTA is awarding $100,000 through its Community Planning program and the Village of Bartlett is providing a $25,000 local match.

Village of Brookfield (Cook)

This project will assist the Village with updating the zoning regulations in the areas surrounding the three Metra stations: Brookfield, Congress Park and Hollywood, focusing on the downtown area. The update will reflect land use policies tied to the goals and objectives of the Village’s 2020 Master Plan. The revised zoning code will use the latest methods and theories to assist the Village in continuing to transform the environment surrounding the downtown Metra station into a model transit-oriented community. This project is receiving $20,000 through the RTA’s Community Planning program.

City of Evanston (Cook)

This project will assist the City in determining what changes to the City zoning ordinance should be considered to better reflect the actual supply and demand for parking in TOD areas, and encourage increased transit use by residents and businesses in these areas. Zoning revisions could be made to all CTA and Metra rail stations in Evanston by implementing a city-wide TOD parking policy. The City’s goal is to increase the use of transit, balance the supply of parking needs in TOD areas and refine policy that will lead to the elimination of unnecessary parking being constructed in the City. The Community Planning program is awarding this project $25,000.

Village of Forest Park (Cook)

The RTA is awarding two zoning ordinance projects to the Village. The first project will assist the Village with the development of a zoning ordinance overlay for the Roosevelt Road corridor, between 1st Avenue and Harlem Avenue, which has significant Pace and CTA bus service. This zoning code amendment will blend new development and redevelopment for a mix of uses along Roosevelt Road. The second project will assist the Village with the development of a zoning ordinance overlay for the Harlem Avenue corridor, between the Harlem Avenue, the CTA Lake and Green Line stations and 16th Street, which has significant Pace and CTA bus service. The current zoning process required for new development is cumbersome and time-consuming, making it more challenging to attract redevelopment to the corridor. A uniform form-based code will provide expedited development approvals without an extensive and lengthy process and variations, further attracting quality redevelopment along the corridor. The Community Planning program is awarding $10,000 each for these projects.

Village of Mt. Prospect (Cook)

This project will conduct an update of the Rand Road Corridor Plan that was originally completed in 1998. The revised plan will emphasize transportation, transit access and land development and use along the corridor. The plan will have recommendations, including improvements to bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure, Pace bus service improvements and redesign of a major intersection to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment. The RTA is awarding this project $100,000 through its Community Planning program and the Village is providing a $25,000 local match.

Village of Palatine (Cook)

This project will assist the Village in creating a TOD Plan for the downtown area that will serve as an update to the Village’s 2004 Downtown Land Use Guide. This plan will build upon completed development and redevelopment in the downtown area over the past 15 years. It will create a refined vision for remaining pocket areas that have potential for redevelopment and will focus on fringe areas where high-density, TOD development transitions back into more traditional, low-density land uses. The Community Planning program is awarding $80,000 to this project and the Village is providing a $20,000 local match.

Village of Skokie (Cook)

This project will assist the Village in developing a panel to determine a practical approach to creating a financially-feasible, transit-supportive neighborhood of mixed-use commercial and residential development. The project will focus on the corridors adjacent to the Oakton-Skokie CTA Station and the neighboring high-density multifamily residential neighborhoods. This effort is intended to support a new CTA station, CTA and Pace Suburban Bus services, and the neighborhood’s commercial areas. The RTA will coordinate and fund a developer panel for the Village through an existing contract with the Urban Land Institute.

Village of Worth (Cook)

This project will assist the Village in the creation of a TOD plan for the area surrounding the Worth Metra station, as recommended by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s Planning Priorities Study recently completed for the Village. The plan will focus on creating a downtown area through residential and commercial redevelopment. Ideally, the plan would facilitate and sustain future development that would expand opportunities for the residents and business owners, while also increasing ridership for Metra and Pace commuters. The Community Planning program is providing $60,000, and the Village is providing a $15,000 local match.

Village of River Grove (Cook)

This project will assist the Village with implementation efforts as recommended in its recently adopted TOD plan, funded through the Community Planning Program. A developer panel will be conducted with the goal of assisting the Village in development of several sites identified in the plan. Redevelopment of these sites would capitalize on the proximity to existing transit facilities, as well as strengthen the vitality of downtown River Grove. The RTA will coordinate and fund a developer panel for the Village through an existing contract with the Urban Land Institute.

DuPage County

City of Aurora (DuPage, Kane, Will)

RTA staff will assist the City with two projects. The first project is the development of a pedestrian access plan that will increase Pace and Metra ridership by enhancing the Aurora Transit Center and Route 59 Metra stations to be more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly. The plan will develop recommendations for station accessibility improvements with additional sidewalks and paths, enhanced crosswalks, way finding, intersection improvements and bicycle accommodations. The second project will assist the City with updating the 2009 service plan for the Station Boulevard Trolley system. This system will connect residents of the Station Boulevard TOD area with the Route 59 Metra station, increasing Metra ridership and reducing vehicle miles traveled to the station. Updates will be made to the trolley system’s routes and schedule year round, and the cost estimates needed to implement and operate the service. The RTA is providing staff assistance for both of these projects.

City of West Chicago (DuPage)

This project will assist the City with a developer panel to review the City’s existing Central Business District (CBD) area plans, analyze the CBD for prospective development, and make recommendations for the City’s future efforts to market and enhance its downtown area. Enhancements to the CBD will support mass transit with new development and redevelopment in the Main Street Corridor and West Washington Street Area. The RTA will coordinate and fund a developer panel for the Village through an existing contract with the Urban Land Institute.

Village of Bartlett (Cook, DuPage)

This project will assist the Village with developing a TOD plan for its downtown/Metra station area. The plan will guide the Village in improving the downtown business district through strategies that support and enhance transit use for residents, businesses and visitors. The RTA is awarding $100,000 through its Community Planning program, and the Village of Bartlett is providing a $25,000 local match.

Kane County

City of Aurora (DuPage, Kane, Will)

RTA staff will assist the City with two projects. The first project is the development of a pedestrian access plan that will increase Pace and Metra ridership by enhancing the Aurora Transit Center and Route 59 Metra stations to be more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly. The plan will develop recommendations for station accessibility improvements with additional sidewalks and paths, enhanced crosswalks, way finding, intersection improvements and bicycle accommodations. The second project will assist the City with updating the 2009 service plan for the Station Boulevard Trolley system. This system will connect residents of the Station Boulevard TOD area with the Route 59 Metra station, increasing Metra ridership and reducing vehicle miles traveled to the station. Updates will be made to the trolley system’s routes and schedule year round, and the cost estimates needed to implement and operate the service. The RTA is providing staff assistance for both of these projects.

Lake County

City of Highwood (Lake)

This project will assist the City with rewriting its zoning code in the downtown TOD area as recommended in the recently completed Highwood TOD study funded through the RTA’s Community Planning Program. The revised code will include detailed transit-supportive zoning standards and design guidelines consistent with the TOD plan, as well as create an environment that encourages transit-friendly development. The Community Planning program is awarding $20,000 for this project.

Village of Libertyville (Lake)

This project will assist the Village in planning for mixed-use development in its downtown area surrounding the Libertyville Metra station. The plan will detail the creation of a livable and walkable downtown area that remains architecturally significant and will contribute to economic development and transit ridership. The RTA’s Community Planning Program is awarding $80,000, and the Village of Libertyville is providing a $20,000 local match.

Will County

City of Aurora (DuPage, Kane, Will)

RTA staff will assist the City with two projects. The first project is the development of a pedestrian access plan that will increase Pace and Metra ridership by enhancing the Aurora Transit Center and Route 59 Metra stations to be more pedestrian and bicycle-friendly. The plan will develop recommendations for station accessibility improvements with additional sidewalks and paths, enhanced crosswalks, way finding, intersection improvements and bicycle accommodations. The second project will assist the City with updating the 2009 service plan for the Station Boulevard Trolley system. This system will connect residents of the Station Boulevard TOD area with the Route 59 Metra station, increasing Metra ridership and reducing vehicle miles traveled to the station. Updates will be made to the trolley system’s routes and schedule year round, and the cost estimates needed to implement and operate the service. The RTA is providing staff assistance for both of these projects.

Service Board

Pace Suburban Bus (Cook, DuPage)

This project will fund technical assistance to Pace for a corridor study of North Avenue between Harlem Avenue and York Road. This study will meet the goals and objectives of Pace’s Vision 20/20 program, as well as address regional concerns expressed in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s GOTO 2040 plan. The study will also look at pedestrian access issues, transit connections, origin and destination analysis and traffic conditions. The RTA’s Community Planning program is awarding this project $160,000, and Pace is providing a $40,000 local match.

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Press Contact

With three transit systems and more than two million riders a day, there is always something interesting going on at the RTA. Get the latest scoop on everything all in one place. For all media inquiries, please contact Susan Massel, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, at 312-913-3256 or at communications@rtachicago.org.