Community Planning Program helps encourage transit-oriented development

 The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is pleased to announce the kickoff of four transit-oriented development (TOD) zoning projects that were allocated funding through the RTA’s 2015 Community Planning Program.  These projects are among 16 that were awarded in 2015 with funding totaling $810,000. The RTA is providing approximately $85,000 in federal grant and local match funds to support these zoning updates that will encourage transit-friendly development.

The new zoning regulations are slated for Brookfield, Evanston, Forest Park and Highwood  to encourage transit-oriented development (TOD), streamline the approval process for future TOD projects, examine and possibly adjust off-street parking regulations, and ultimately help each of these communities achieve a pedestrian and transit-friendly environment that complements its community's character.

"We are pleased to be able to move these communities forward in terms of transit access for residents.  The new TOD zoning regulations encourage the appropriate development to enhance the vibrancy of these communities, spur economic growth and increase ridership," said Leanne P. Redden, RTA Executive Director.

The following four communities will update their TOD zoning regulations thanks in part to RTA support:

  • Brookfield officials will examine the community’s three Metra station areas to identify potential zoning regulation updates to encourage TOD investment. The update will be guided by the 2020 Master Plan, funded in 2004 through the RTA Community Planning Program.
  • Evanston officials will examine the city’s parking regulations to determine the appropriate amount of off-street parking required in TOD areas.  Revisions could be made to CTA and Metra rail station areas in Evanston if a citywide TOD parking policy is implemented. Evanston officials hope the zoning ordinance update will increase the use of transit, balance the supply of off-street parking needs in TOD areas and refine off-street parking policy.
  • Forest Park officials will work to revise the community’s zoning regulations along both Harlem Avenue (between the Harlem / Lake Green Line CTA station and 16th Street) and Roosevelt Road (between First Avenue and Harlem Avenue). The updated zoning regulations will streamline the development approval process and encourage pedestrian and transit-friendly development along both corridors.
  • Highwood officials will rewrite the zoning code for its downtown area to include detailed transit-supportive zoning standards and design guidelines, consistent with the RTA-funded Community Planning program TOD plan completed in 2014.

These are examples of many TOD plan implementation projects funded through the RTA’s Community Planning Program. To date, the program has completed more than 90 TOD plans using a combination of RTA, local and federal funds, totaling nearly $10 million.

The RTA is currently accepting applications for the 2016 Community Planning Program. For more information please visit www.rtachicago.org/applications

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About the RTA

The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is the only transit agency charged with regional financial oversight, funding, and transit planning for the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metra and Pace bus and paratransit.    Riders take more than two million trips each weekday on the RTA region’s transit system in six counties with 7,200 transit route miles throughout Northeastern Illinois.  The Agency also provides customer services including on-line and telephone travel planning assistance and travel training for seniors and people with disabilities.  For more information, visit www.RTAchicago.com.