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By Brian Hacker, Senior Planner

We are excited to announce that the RTA has received federal funding from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program for seven projects that will improve bike and pedestrian access to our regional transit system. A total of $2.3 million – consisting of roughly $1.8 million in federal funds, $360,000 in local funds and $100,000 in RTA funds – will be invested in capital improvements like sidewalks, crosswalks, bus shelters, signage and covered bike parking at transit stations and along bus routes. By creating better bike and pedestrian connections to transit, these projects promote the program’s goals of relieving congestion, reducing emissions and growing transit ridership.

These projects are selected through the RTA’s Access to Transit Improvement Program, which provides our community partners an opportunity to fund small-scale capital projects that are identified in their transit-oriented development plans or corridor studies completed through either the RTA’s Community Planning program or CMAP’s Local Technical Assistance program. The current round of the program has awarded funding for projects in the communities of Bensenville, Brookfield, Chicago Heights, Melrose Park, Northlake, Olympia Fields and Waukegan.

Here are some examples:

The Village of Bensenville will receive funding for improvements at the Bensenville Metra Station on the Milwaukee District West line. The project will construct sidewalks on streets leading the station and covered bike parking near the platforms. The commuter parking lot next to the station will also be reconstructed to better accommodate Pace bus service with a warming shelter and bus staging area.

The City of Chicago Heights will receive funds to improve bike and pedestrian access to the Pace terminal located at 16th Street and Vincennes Avenue. Access to the facility, which serves six Pace routes and a high volume of passengers, will be enhanced by the construction of sidewalks and crosswalks on the surrounding streets, as well as the additions of covered bike parking and a bus staging lane.

A detailed list of all projects receiving funding in the current program is available on the RTA website.

This announcement marks the third round of Access to Transit Improvement Program projects to receive funding through CMAQ. Overall, the program has secured nearly $10 million in federal, local and RTA funds for 22 projects in communities throughout the region. To date, construction has been completed on three of these projects with the rest either under construction or in the design phase.

Small-scale improvement projects, such as these, can have large impacts for transit riders by fostering a safe and welcoming environment for all users, regardless of how they access our regional transit system. For more information on the Access to Transit Improvement Program, including a detailed list of all the projects funded to date, please visit our website.

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