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Transit-Oriented Transformation

November 7, 2016

Sm golfroad cover

The RTA allocated funding for installation of new sidewalks and crosswalks to implement recommendations from Rolling Meadows' Golf Road corridor plan.

By Brian Hacker, Senior Planner, RTA

The RTA’s Community Planning program has been supporting planning efforts around the regional transit system since the program began in 1998. One of its main goals is to promote transit-oriented development (TOD), a planning concept that prioritizes residential density, mixed-use development and bicycle and pedestrian amenities within walking distance of transit service. Although TOD may take shape differently from one location to the next, its unifying themes are increased mobility, better access to employment and amenities, and livable communities. To date, the Community Planning program has funded nearly 90 planning projects that support TOD throughout Northeast Illinois.

When planning projects are complete, RTA planners continue to work with the sponsor communities to help them implement their planning recommendations and keep track of the progress they’ve made. To highlight some of the positive developments in areas where Community Planning projects have been completed, our staff has developed interactive maps with narrative text, images, and multimedia content for four such specific  projects: the Cermak-McCormick Place Green Line Station from the Chicago Transit-Friendly Development at CTA Stations plan, the Elmhurst Downtown Plan, and the Orland Park Transit-Oriented Development Planning Study, and the Rolling Meadows Golf Road Transit and Pedestrian Mobility Study. In each of these cases, the sponsor community has made significant progress towards implementing the vision laid out in their plan. Additionally, these examples represent distinct settings across our region that present their own unique planning challenges and opportunities.

  • In Chicago, the CTA has constructed a new rail station on the Green Line that offers better access to McCormick Place, helping to promote development in the area that includes a new entertainment district with an event center and hotel, currently under construction.
  • For years, the City of Elmhurst has been committed to planning for their downtown to maintain its status as the dynamic center of their community, based around their Metra station. The latest addition to this thriving district is the recently-opened Elmhurst 255 development that adds nearly 200 residential units and 12,000 square feet of retail space within walking distance of the Elmhurst Station.
  • In Orland Park, the Village continues to see major progress on the redevelopment of the Main Street Triangle district, focused around the 143rd Street Metra station. Major projects underway include a mixed-use parking structure and University of Chicago medical facility that are both nearing completion.
  • The City of Rolling Meadows recently completed a pedestrian improvement project on the Golf Road corridor that provides better access between Pace bus service and several major employers. The project was funded with $1.2 million in assistance through the RTA’s Access to Transit Improvement Program, which provides plan implementation funding for small-scale projects that increase pedestrian and bicycle access to the transit system.

We encourage you to take a few moments to learn more about how the RTA’s planning efforts contribute to a more vibrant and livable region. And check back in the future for other local success stories on the Community Planning program’s Implementation webpage.

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