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RTA selects eight station activation projects for pilot program to improve public safety near transit

May 16, 2024

Projects will receive funding for events near CTA, Metra, and Pace that center transit stations and stops as a safe and welcoming part of their community. This pilot program is part of RTA’s implementation of the Transit is the Answer strategic plan and follows the successful Public Transit Safety and Security Summit held in February 2024.

CHICAGO, MAY 16, 2024 – The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) is announcing more than $120,000 in funding for eight Transit Station Activation projects that improve public safety and a sense of community near CTA, Metra, and Pace stations and stops.

Eight Transit Station Activation projects were selected from a group of nearly 20 applicants submitted in the 2024 Community Planning Call for Projects. Selected projects will bring activities near transit, create a welcoming environment, and help address real or perceived public safety issues. Each project will receive between $10,000 and $20,000 in funding to plan and host public events that will take place this summer and fall.

The Transit Station Activation grant program was launched following the RTA Public Transit Safety and Security Summit in February 2024. The Summit brought together nearly 80 riders, transit professionals, and stakeholders to explore holistic solutions to the safety issues the transit system is facing.

This week, the RTA published a report featuring priority recommendations that emerged from conversations at the event. Recommendations include regular reporting on transit crime, creating new non-police units to respond to mental health crises, expanding social services partnerships, and continuing to invest in infrastructure upgrades at transit stations and stops.

“All riders and frontline workers deserve to feel safe on transit,” said Leanne Redden, RTA Executive Director. “We are excited to announce the projects selected for Transit Station Activations and see these projects come to life, helping make our region’s transit stations and stops feel safer and centering them as hubs in their communities.”

Project awards are contingent based on pending grant agreements between RTA and selected applicants, including their ability to secure any necessary approvals and permits. Final details about the successful implementation of the activations will be shared closer to their event dates.

Selected projects are short-term, the majority one-day events, occurring this summer and fall. They include:

  • Cicero Green Line Station (CTA) - The Chicago Film Archives (CFA) will enhance the existing projection system at the street-level mezzanine of the Cicero Green Line station which was installed in March 2023 to project 20th century home movies from Chicagoans. The film exhibition is called "we love" and is a six-minute film followed by a sampling of home movies from CFA's archive. The movies are projected on the lobby wall and run 24 hours a day. The home movies from communities of various backgrounds all resonate with feelings of love, belonging, and safety. To enhance this feature, CFA will research and identify families with home movies who live in the West Garfield Park community today, digitize their home movies and add them to the exhibition. The addition of home videos of local families will encourage travel and bring excitement and acknowledgement to the lives of people in the neighborhood.
  • 63rd and Cottage Grove Green Line Station (CTA) - Gardeneers will execute a one-day plant-based pop-up festival at the 63rd and Cottage Grove Green Line station that aims to showcase the impact of plant-based foods, urban agriculture, biomaterials, and sustainability on individuals' health and the ecosystem. The plant-based pop-up festival will bring together organizations and individuals who are at the forefront of the plant-based movement to showcase their work in an engaging and interactive setting. Through a variety of activities, presentations, and demonstrations, the festival will educate and inspire attendees about the benefits of plant-based living and sustainable practices. Festival components include hands-on gardening sessions to explore urban agriculture practices, a handpicked selection of plant-based products and local artisan goods for sale, musical performances, food, and giveaways.
  • Morse Red Line Station (CTA) – Mandala South Asian Performing Arts will host live music and dance performances at the Morse Red Line station that will reflect the unique cultural identity of the neighborhood and the diversity of the City of Chicago. Mandala will present one live musician that represents the neighborhood and two musicians that reflect other cultural neighborhoods in the city. In their application, Mandala South Asian Performing Arts stated they believe the one-day event will help riders will become acquainted with the neighborhoods they pass by in their local community, and locals will get to appreciate the vibrant diversity of the city they live in and help commuters to feel safer about gathering at the CTA stations.
  • Maywood Station (Metra) - The Maywood Chamber of Commerce will host a one-day event that celebrates Maywood's historical and cultural treasures and underscores its accessibility by transit with a three-pronged event centered on the Maywood Metra station along with nearby Pace bus service on 5th Ave. The first is a guided tour, via walking or trolley-car, around the various sites that span Maywood Park from First Avenue to Fifth Avenue. Next, various institutions in Maywood's Arts and Cultural District will host an open house where residents and visitors can learn about their respective offerings. The Maywood Chamber of Commerce will be the host organization and use the occasion to promote its services and the good of its members. The third and final aspect of the event will be a musical performance conducted by Working-In-Concert (WIC), a Chicago-based musical organization that promotes cultural education and diversity through musical performances.
  • 79th Street Station in Chatham and 147th Street Station in Harvey (Metra) - Metra will host one-day community celebrations coinciding with the completion of station reconstruction projects at the 79th Street (Chatham) station on the South Side of Chicago and the 147th Street Station in south suburban Harvey, both on the Metra Electric Line. Components of the events could include food vendors, live music using local musicians, face painting, clowns and balloon artists, safety presentations, children's games and activities, meet-and-greet booths with community organizations or elected officials, social media photo opportunities, educational information from transit ambassadors, poetry readings and promotional giveaways.
  • Joliet Transit Center (Pace) - Pace, in coordination with the City of Joliet, will host a one-day transit activation event during the annual Kidz Fest hosted by Joliet City Center Partnership. The Pace element of the event will be held in the commuter parking lot adjacent to the Joliet Transit Center. The goal of this event is to promote safety and security along with increasing ridership, while also celebrating Pace’s 40th anniversary. Different stations will be set up in designated areas of the event that will include family-friendly activities and games, giveaways and food.
  • Loyola Red Line Station and Bus Routes 151 and 147 (CTA) - The Rogers Park Business Alliance will hire local bands to perform at the Loyola CTA station plaza and on patios of several businesses located near CTA Route 151 and 147 bus stops on Sheridan Rd. from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on three different Friday evenings over the summer. Access to the performances will be free and open to the public and limited seating and refreshments, such as water and popcorn, will be provided. The funding will help revive the pre-pandemic "Summer on the Plazas" pop-up performances to help enliven the Sheridan Road corridor on summer evenings.
  • Bus Routes 36 and 81 in Uptown (CTA) - Uptown United will hold free yoga sessions on multiple Saturday mornings throughout the summer. The free outdoor yoga will occur on open and accessible section of private property along Broadway and adjacent to CTA Bus Route 36 (Broadway) and 81 (Lawrence) and be open to the public.

The projects selected for Transit Station Activations are a direct implementation of Transit is the Answer, the regional transit strategic plan approved by the RTA Board of Directors in 2023. The first action of the plan is to “Make the transit system safety and more secure for everyone.” RTA staff will partner with successful grantees to survey attendees and transit riders at the activations to learn more about their experiences and assist in evaluating this pilot program.

Look for more details on the events described above and stay up to date on transit news by subscribing to the RTA’s Regional Transit Update newsletter.

Press Information

Melissa Meyer

Communications Manager
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