The RTA is announcing more than $300,000 in funding through its Access to Transit program to help six communities in Northeastern Illinois improve connections to public transit.
Access to Transit, a program launched in 2012, supports small-scale capital projects that improve access to the regional transit system for pedestrians and bicyclists. Access to Transit projects typically involve construction and improvement of sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian signals, bus and rail warming shelters, and covered bike parking at transit stations.
The RTA funding will be paired with funding from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program, and a local match from each community to pay for Phase II Engineering and construction of each project. The total value of improvements coming to the region through these six projects is $4.2 million. Engineering for each project will begin in spring or summer 2022.
Recently awarded projects include:
Calumet Park Pace and Metra Access Improvements
The RTA and the Village of Calumet Park will partner to construct bicycle facilities along 124th Street to allow safe access between bus transit services along Halsted Street and the Ashland Metra station at Ashland Avenue. Additional improvements include completing a sidewalk gap on 124th Street between Laflin and Bishop Streets and pedestrian improvements to the intersection of 124th and Laflin Streets.
This project will create Calumet Park’s first Complete Street and Bike Boulevard to Transit, help to better connect Calumet Park to the Major Taylor Trail, and remove barriers to transit ridership and accessibility.
The total project cost of the Calumet Park project is $264,126.00, with CMAQ program covering 80 percent of the budget. Because the Village is a high need community and the RTA is making project selections and funding decisions more equitable, the RTA is covering the 20 percent local match in full, with no cost to the Village for this project.
Evanston Pace and CTA Access Improvements
The RTA and City of Evanston will partner to convert all transit bus stops in the city from flagged to posted stops. This will increase transit ridership and accessibility by providing a physical location for stops and increased visibility of stop locations. Improvements will include ADA compliant pads at bus stops, new bus shelters, pedestrian signals, and replacement of sidewalk to improve access to the new stops.
This project also aims to improve on-time performance and system predictability while enhancing safety for riders of all abilities.
The total project cost is $300,481. CMAQ’s share of the total budget is 80 percent, the RTA’s share is 10 percent, while the local match from Evanston is 10 percent.
Franklin Park Pace and Metra Improvements
The RTA and the Village of Franklin Park will partner to construct an east-west bicycle route and a north-south pedestrian route linking downtown Franklin Park, two Metra stations, and three Pace Bus routes to the three industrial areas of the Village. The project will include eight-foot-wide multi-use paths, road sharrows (road markings used to indicate a shared lane environment for bicycles and automobiles), and dedicated bike lanes. The project also includes the installation of covered bike racks and wayfinding tools at the Metra station.
This project will create a fully functional alternative transportation network for commuters, residents, and visitors as well as safe access to transit for industry employees, many of whom do not own vehicles. It will also increase connectivity to regional bicycle networks.
The total cost of the Franklin Park project is $890,196.00. CMAQ’s share of the total budget is 80 percent, the RTA’s share is approximately 7 percent, while the local match from Franklin Park is approximately 13 percent.
Hoffman Estates Pace Improvements
The RTA and the Village of Hoffman Estates will partner to construct a new off-road bicycle path on the north side of Central Road from the existing Paul Douglas Preserve Path to the Pace Park-n-Ride station at Barrington Road and I-90. The project will complete a pathway gap leading to the Barrington Road Pace Transit Station.
This project will fill a gap in the bicycle and pedestrian network in the area surrounding the I-90 / Barrington Road Pace transit station, which can help increase transit ridership and ensure safety, accessibility, and competitiveness by creating first mile and last mile links for riders. It will also build on recent Village planning efforts by implementing an active transportation infrastructure project.
The total cost of the Hoffman Estates project is $675,000.00. CMAQ’s share of the total budget is 80 percent, the RTA’s share is 10 percent, while the local match from Hoffman Estates is 10 percent.
Northbrook Pace and Metra Improvements
The RTA and the Village of Northbrook will partner to install road sharrows, one sheltered bike parking structure, and new transit and wayfinding signage near the Northbrook Metra Station.
This project will support increased transit ridership by improving road facilities with shared lane markings for bicyclists. It will also provide comprehensive and easy to understand information for transit riders including those needing to transfer services. The new wayfinding tools and bike parking will also enhance the appeal of using a bicycle to reach transit, especially in challenging weather.
The total cost of the Northbrook project is $200,864.00. CMAQ’s share of the total budget is 80 percent, the RTA’s share is 10 percent, while the local match from Northbrook is 10 percent.
Prospect Heights Pace and Metra Improvements
The RTA and City of Prospect Heights will partner to construct a sidewalk on the east side of Wolf Road which will run north from the Prospect Heights Metra Station to Willow Road. This will complete a connection to a future phase of the multi-use path on Wolf Road that goes north from Willow Road to Palatine Road. The project also includes pedestrian signals at Camp McDonald Road as well as a new pedestrian crossing over the Metra tracks.
This project will improve access to the Pace bus route along Wolf Road and help to increase transit ridership by connecting the Metra station to both employment and residential centers. It will also close gaps in the bicycle and pedestrian network and enhance safety by installing new signals and upgrading bicycle and pedestrian crossings of the Metra tracks.
The total cost of the Prospect Heights project is $1,870,122.00. CMAQ’s share of the total budget is 80 percent, the RTA’s share is 5 percent, while the local match from Prospect Heights is 15 percent.
To date, Access to Transit has funded 37 projects in communities throughout the region for a total investment of roughly $17 million in federal, RTA, and local funds. Detailed information on past projects is available on RTAMS.org.