The opening of the 2020 call for projects for the Access to Transit Program has been announced by the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) of Chicago.
The program seeks projects that improve access to the regional transit system for pedestrians and bicyclists, including sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian signals, bus and rail warming shelters and covered bike parking at transit stations. To address a frequent barrier to securing funding and completing projects, the 2020 Access to Transit Program will accept applications for micromobility projects, such as bikeshare programs, as well as Phase I Engineering funding for high need communities. The application period is March 13 to May 8.
The Access to Transit program leverages Chicago RTA and local funding with federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) funding to help implement recommendations from planning studies completed through the RTA Community Planning program or Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program. To date, Access to Transit has funded 28 projects in communities throughout the region for a total investment of roughly $13 million in federal, RTA and local funds. Detailed information on past projects is available on the Chicago RTA data website.
“The RTA’s ongoing efforts to support transit-oriented planning at the local level has shown that there is a strong need across our region to provide better access to transit service for all users of the system,” said Chicago RTA Executive Director Leanne Redden. “The Access to Transit program presents an opportunity for communities to address those needs, with the RTA providing both financial and technical assistance for applicants accepted to the program as an incentive.”
Investing in pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure near transit provides several benefits for both local communities and the Chicago RTA system, such as:
- Increased transit ridership, which helps reduce congestion and vehicle emissions;
- First and last mile connections that make it safer and easier for riders to get to and from transit service;
- Lower demand for commuter parking; and
- Pedestrian friendly neighborhoods that promote public health through active transportation.
The Access to Transit program is open to municipalities and counties that have completed, or are in the process of completing, a planning or implementation project through either the RTA Community Planning program, the CMAP LTA Program or other community planning efforts. The plans should specifically recommend bicycle and/or pedestrian access improvements to transit. This includes communities that have participated in corridor studies as a partner. Applicants seeking only Phase I engineering can submit projects from any adopted plan, including those outside of the RTA and CMAP programs. Applicants must have Chicago Transit Authority, Metra or Pace service in their community and be located within the Chicago RTA’s six-county service area (Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Will).