Transit Briefs: City of Chicago, CTA, MetraWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The Chicago (Ill.) Department of Planning and Development (DPD) launches the first phase of a $10 million Equitable Transit-Oriented Development program. Also, the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and Chicago Department of Aviation team on wayfinding upgrades at O’Hare International Airport; and Chicago’s Metra commuter railroad will offer a new pilot schedule on the UP-West line.
The 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 show a commitment to advancing health and racial equity and that prioritize walkability and transit-orientation in their design will be prioritized for the 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 for the community groups and other organizations that will receive grant funding for projects in 2023.
The deadline to respond to the Equitable Transit Oriented Development Implementation Program RFP is Dec. 9, 2022, at 12 p.m. CST.
CTA on Nov. 22 reported 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, which is located in the lower-level concourse between the main terminals, nearest Terminal 2.
“The signs feature new, easy-to-read designs, placed at multiple locations to help customers—especially out-of-town visitors—get to and from the CTA Blue Line station,” said 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 through the end September. These wayfinding upgrades use a “bright, CTA ‘Blue Line Blue’” and feature the agency’s “L” train icon.
“Travelers now have clearer, more-defined directions to and from the Blue Line, which is the most affordable—and typically the fastest—way to travel between O’Hare and downtown,” CTA President Dorval R. Carter Jr. said.
“This work with the CTA is one facet of an ongoing effort to reimagine wayfinding at our largest airport, led by a dedicated team of two dozen experts committed to instituting a first-class wayfinding experience,” said Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee of the Chicago Department of Aviation, which owns and operates both O’Hare and Midway International airports.
Metra has announced it will add 18 trains (nine inbound and nine outbound) to its current 40-train UP-West weekday service schedule, as part of a pilot starting Dec. 5.
The commuter railroad said it surveyed riders this summer to ensure the newly scheduled trains served the most requested times. During the morning rush, 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 minutes or better, with trains stopping in Oak Park every 10 to 25 minutes. Outbound service for the evening rush will operate with similar headways and service patterns. A new type of express train making limited stops to and from Glen Ellyn has also been added in both the morning and evening rush hours, Metra reported, and reverse commuters will now also have an express service option in the morning and the evening.
Midday service on the line will operate every 60 to 90 minutes, and every midday train will now stop at the Melrose Park, Maywood and Kedzie stations. During late night hours, most stations will have hourly service, the railroad said.
In addition to the new trains, train times have been adjusted throughout the schedule, according to Metra, which noted it will “monitor customer feedback and operations and make future schedule adjustments as necessary.”
“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,” Metra CEO/Executive Director Jim Derwinski said. “We are greatly encouraged by the growth in ridership so far this year and are happy that we are able to expand service on the UP-West Line to provide commuters with another option as winter sets in.”