Transit Briefs: City of Chicago, CTA, Metra | So Good News

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Written by

Marybeth Luczak, Managing Editor

The Chicago Department of Planning and Development on Nov. 22 issued the first request for proposals under the city's $10 million Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Program.

The Chicago Department of Planning and Development on Nov. 22 issued the first request for proposals under the city’s $10 million Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Program.

The Chicago (Ill.) Department of Planning and Development (DPD) is launching the first phase of a $10 million Equitable Transit-Oriented Development program. Also, Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Chicago Department of Aviation team on wayfinding upgrades at O’Hare International Airport; and Chicago’s Metra commuter rail will offer a new pilot schedule on the UP-West line.

Chicago DPD on Nov. 22 issued the first request for proposals (RFP) under the city’s $10 million Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Program, which will support community-driven development near train stations and high-frequency bus corridors. “Projects that demonstrate a commitment to promoting health and racial equity and that prioritize walkability and transit orientation in design will be prioritized for funding and support,” according to the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office. “Projects can range from affordable housing developments to mixed-use developments with healthy food retail to community ownership business models and more.”

During this first phase of the program, organizations and entities are invited to respond to the RFP to provide technical assistance to the community groups and other organizations that will receive grant funding for projects in 2023.

The deadline to respond to the RFP for the Equitable Transit Oriented Development Implementation Program is December 9, 2022, at 12:00 p.m. CST.

“Passengers now have clearer, more defined directions to and from the Blue Line, which is the most affordable — and usually the fastest — way to travel between O’Hare and downtown,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. (Photo courtesy of CTA)

The CTA reported on Nov. 22 that it has partnered with the Chicago Department of Aviation to add new signs and wayfinding elements along the paths from O’Hare’s baggage claim areas in Terminals 1, 2 and 3 to the O’Hare Rapid Transit Station, located on the lower level between the main terminals, closest to terminal 2.

“The signs feature new, easy-to-read designs, placed in multiple locations to help customers — especially out-of-town visitors — get to and from the CTA Blue Line station,” said the CTA, which noted that O’Hare is one of the busiest stations along the blue line, with more than 1.7 million customers entering the station this year until the end of September. These wayfinding upgrades use a “light, CTA ‘Blue Line Blue'” and feature the agency’s “L” train icon.

“Passengers now have clearer, more defined directions to and from the Blue Line, which is the most affordable — and usually the fastest — way to travel between O’Hare and downtown,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr.

“This work with the CTA is one facet of an ongoing effort to rethink wayfinding at our largest airport, led by a dedicated team of two dozen experts committed to delivering a world-class wayfinding experience,” said Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee from Chicago. Department of Aviation, which owns and operates both O’Hare and Midway International airports.

“We have said since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that Metra is committed to adjusting its schedules to meet growing ridership and our riders’ changing needs,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski.

Metra has announced that it will add 18 trains (nine inbound and nine outbound) to its current 40-train weekday UP-West service schedule as part of a pilot starting Dec. 5.

The commuter rail said it surveyed riders this summer to ensure the newly scheduled trains served the most-demanded times. During the morning rush hour, UP-West riders from Elmhurst and most points west will now have inbound trains stopping every 10 to 20 minutes, and riders traveling from Berkeley and points east will have trains stopping at their stations every 30 .minute or better, with trains stopping in Oak Park every 10 to 25 minutes. Outbound service for the evening rush hour will operate with similar progress and service pattern. A new type of express train with limited stops to and from Glen Ellyn has also been added in both the morning and evening rush hours, Metra announced, and reversing commuters will now also have morning and evening express service.

Midday service on the line will operate every 60 to 90 minutes, and every midday train will now stop at Melrose Park, Maywood and Kedzie stations. During late night hours, most stations will have hourly service, the railway said.

In addition to the new trains, train times have been adjusted throughout the schedule, according to Metra, which noted that it will “monitor customer and operational feedback and make future route adjustments as needed.”

“We have said since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic that Metra is committed to adjusting its schedules to meet growing ridership and our riders’ changing needs,” said Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski. “We are greatly encouraged by the growth in ridership so far this year and are pleased that we are able to expand service on the UP-West Line to provide commuters with another option as winter sets in.”

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