By the end of 2015, commuters in LaGrange will enjoy easier access to the Metra station in their community; Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) riders will notice new development to improve traffic flow near the 35th Street/IIT Green Line station; and Pace riders will continue to enjoy the installation of sidewalks and pads for bus shelters, replacing the dirt patches that were once waiting areas.
The crosswalks in front of LaGrange’s Stone Avenue station, along the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) line, and the increased bicycle parking will improve the transit experience for suburban riders. The enhancements in LaGrange bring to life just some of the recommendations outlined in the LaGrange Comprehensive Plan Update and BNSF Corridor plan funded through the RTA’s Community Planning program. The improvements are made possible through a $308,000 federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant along with RTA funds of $77,000.
“There was a real need for these new crosswalks so residents could safely walk to the station,” says LaGrange Village President Thomas E. Livingston. “The RTA helped us secure funding to assure the station got the upgrades it needed. These upgrades, as well as the additional bicycle parking, ultimately enhance the commuting experience and we hope incent more people to use the station and the system as a whole.”
Also in 2015, CTA riders may be using a new pedestrian plaza and crosswalks, funded by a $260,000 CMAQ grant awarded to the Chicago Department of Transportation, that implement recommendations from the RTA-funded Reconnecting Neighborhoods and South Lakefront Corridor plans.
Additionally, Pace riders will continue to enjoy nearly 100 cement pads that replaced the dirt patches where riders used to wait for buses. The pads are funded by several sources, some of which are specifically tied to the benefit for riders with disabilities, who had to wait in the grass with wheelchairs or other mobility aids.
“These projects meet real needs of transit riders and are ‘concrete’ examples of the work the RTA does every day,” said Leanne Redden, senior deputy executive director. “One of our goals is to eliminate any barrier that may exist to a person riding our transit system, and these capital projects literally build the connections necessary to retain current riders and attract new ones.”
These are just a few of the projects funded with the $20.8 million in capital dollars from various sources that help to implement recommendations from the RTA’s Five-Year Strategic Plan. The plan’s goals, developed in collaboration with the CTA, Metra and Pace, include providing valuable, reliable, accessible and attractive transportation options throughout the region.