Cook County awards $1.6 million to four transit projects

Aug. 6, 2021
The grants are part of the Invest in Cook program, which were also awarded to bicycle/pedestrian, freight and road projects.

Cook County and the Department of Transportation and Highways (DoTH) awarded more than $8.5 million to 34 projects under its “Invest in Cook” grant program. The grants will go to 29 municipalities to fund transit, bicycle/pedestrian, freight and road projects.

More than 18.8 percent of the funds will go toward four transit projects. The remainder of the grant awards consist of 15 bicycle/pedestrian, three freight and 12 road projects.

The $1.6 million in grants awarded to transit projects include:

  • $401,500 to Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) for the Cicero Grade Crossing Enhancement Project. The funds will be used for design engineering on the project, which improve the at-grade crossing of CTA’s Pink Line with Cicero Avenue. The condition of the roadway and the protective rubber boots at the crossing have deteriorated over time, creating hazardous conditions for motorists and pedestrians. In addition, the signal system, roadway and pedestrian gate mechanisms at the grade crossing will be upgraded. The CTA will work with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to make the system improvements. The county explains changes to this grade crossing are a priority due to several safety incidents at the crossing that have put CTA staff and passengers at potential risk.
  • $600,000 to Metra for the 147th St. Station Rehabilitation in Harvey on the Metra Electric Line. The station entrance will be fully rebuilt at street-level, designed to better define the station entrance and include an enclosed space for an elevator. This will facilitate access to the new headhouse and platform, making the station fully ADA-compliant. The headhouse and island platform will be reconstructed, three new warming shelters are planned along the new platform and a new canopy will be built over the full length of a reconstructed boarding platform.
  • $500,000 to Pace Suburban Bus for preliminary engineering of the Pace Pulse 95th Street Line, which will be the fourth of Pace’s seven Near-Term Priority Pulse corridors to be implemented. The line is scheduled to enter service in 2025 and will improve suburban connectivity, reduce traffic congestion and enhance the transit experience for new and existing riders. It will span 12.8 miles in total, traveling from the CTA Red Line 95th/Dan Ryan Station in Chicago to Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills. Major transfer points will include Metra stations on the Southwest Service, Rock Island and Electric District lines. Pace Route 381 currently operates along this route and it will be restructured to provide complementary local service after the implementation of the Pulse 95th Street Line.
  • $100,000 to the Village of Thornton for planning related to the Thornton Mobility Study. The village will conduct a feasibility study to determine safe and efficient public transportation options for residents and visitors. The village is less than five miles from the Pace 352 Halsted route and the Homewood Metra Electric station, but there are no existing connections that allow residents to easily access these transit options. Metra Electric Line is part of the Fair Transit South Cook initiative and Pace will be extending the Halsted Pulse line soon. Village residents seek to benefit from these reduced fares and increased service. Thornton and Pace will work together to determine the needs of residents and visitors.

Invest in Cook, which is in its fifth round of grant awards, is an initiative that is part of Connecting Cook County, the county’s first long-range transportation plan in 75 years. The county says the Invest in Cook grants advance the Vital Communities, Sustainable Communities and Smart Communities priorities laid out in the Cook County Policy Roadmap.

“For the [p]ast five years, Invest in Cook has improved the way residents travel around Cook County,” said Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle. “Each year we’ve identified communities in our most underserved and disadvantaged areas who need funding the most. Improving quality of life and making commuting easier, safer and more accessible for everyone in Cook County will continue to be a top priority for my administration.”

The 61 grant applications were evaluated by DoTH based on priorities within the Connecting Cook County long-range plan. These priorities include transit and other transportation alternatives; support of the region’s role as North America’s freight capital; promote equal access to opportunities; maintain and modernize what already exists and increase investments in transportation.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.

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April 20, 2012