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Feedback from Albany Park residents and transit riders gathered to inform Kimball Station Area Curb Management Study

May 2, 2024


In early April, the RTA wrapped up its second and final round of community engagement to inform development of the Kimball Station Area Curb Management Study, the agency’s first-ever curb and mobility study. Transit riders and Albany Park residents weighed in at a variety of engagement events, asking for beautification, activation, bus shelters, traffic calming, Spanish-language announcements, and more station area improvements. The first round of engagement in 2023 included a public survey, community roundtables, and door-to-door business interviews.

The Kimball Station Area Curb Management Study is a Community Planning project that kicked off one year ago. The RTA’s Community Planning program provides funding and technical assistance to local governments to help foster growth of sustainable, equitable, walkable, and transit-friendly communities. Since 1998, more than 200 projects have been completed.

The CTA Kimball Brown Line station is a key mobility hub for the Albany Park community on the northwest side of Chicago, featuring the Brown Line, three CTA bus routes, Divvy and electric scooter share, and ride-hail service—not to mention business deliveries, on-demand package and food delivery, and parking. The mobility options at this station area are an asset to community members, but they also require access to a single constrained resource—the curb.

Curb space can be utilized for dedicated bus lanes that speed up transit, protected bike lanes that separate bikes from cars, and curb extensions that increase safety for people walking. Clearly defined space for passenger pickups and drop-offs can reduce chaos and congestion in the street. These newer demands and innovations compete with on-street parking, which has traditionally monopolized curb space.

The study aims to accommodate these many competing needs while making transit access the priority and has been guided by community and stakeholder engagement and informed by data.

Engagement activities have garnered valuable feedback from community members, youth, and transit riders. In February, consultants attended a Friends of the Community meeting at Roosevelt High School to speak with around 50 Albany Park residents and Youth Council representatives. Attendees felt the Kimball station area is outdated and uninviting, and it needs more greenery, beautification, and station upgrades. They also advocated for more bicycle infrastructure on Lawrence or Kimball avenues.

In March, consultants spoke to around 200 transit riders and corridor users at the station area. They gathered that transit riders feel there aren’t many good places to wait for the train, even in the station. Many see a benefit in more greenery and vendor spaces next to the station. Riders and corridor users also felt drivers turn too aggressively through the Lawrence-Kimball intersection, putting others at risk.

In early April at a roundtable with Spanish-speaking community members at Christ Lutheran Church, ideas for improvements included adding areas to wait for buses and building a plaza with amenities like markets and games for children. Attendees also noted that buses are often stuck in traffic, contributing to longer wait times for riders, and announcements are only made in English, presenting a language barrier for many transit riders in the community.

Also in early April, consultants and RTA staff met with the North River Commission (NRC) Youth Council and Roosevelt High School students at the NRC office. Common concerns were that cars drive dangerously fast through the station area, buses get stuck in traffic, and there are not enough places to sit. Designated space for pickups and drop-offs was recommended to alleviate illegal parking in the bus lanes. Youth participants liked the idea of adding shelters to wait for buses, especially if they had heaters like at train stations.

In addition to these in-person engagement opportunities, residents, business owners, and CTA riders are invited to take a survey to help guide development of the Kimball Station Area Curb Management Study. Updates on the study’s progress can be tracked on the project website. The study is slated to be complete this summer.

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Tagged in: Community Planning | CTA | RTA

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