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2 Chicago suburbs may change rules for development near CTA stops
Tracy Swartz | Red Eye Chicago


Two Chicago suburbs may be changing the rules for future developments near their CTA stations so that these developments would be easy to access for pedestrians and public transit riders.


The Regional Transportation Authority, the funding arm for CTA, Metra and the suburban Pace bus system, announced this week it is giving money to Evanston and Forest Park to promote transit-oriented development near CTA stops.


The projects were awarded through the RTA's annual community planning program, intended to spur economic development near transit. This year, the RTA doled out $810,000 among 16 programs. The money comes from RTA, federal and locally matched funds.

In Evanston, the RTA awarded $25,000 to the city to study whether its zoning ordinance should be changed to allow fewer parking spaces at new developments by the CTA Purple Line and Metra stations.


The city's goal is to increase the use of public transportation and eliminate unncessary new parking spaces, according to the RTA. Chicago adoped similar rules last year.


Developments "may not need as much parking because people are going to access it via transit," said Heather Tabbert, RTA's manager of local planning and programs.


Tabbert said Evanston commuter and street parking would not be affected by the potential changes.


The Purple Line has logged 1.6 million rides this year through June, the most recent CTA data available. The Metra line that serves Evanston, the Union Pacific/North line, has recorded 5.3 million rides this year through July.


The study, which should take six months, will begin in early 2015, Tabbert said.


In Forest Park, the RTA awarded $20,000 to the village to draw up paperwork that would change the zoning ordinances for new development and redevelopment along Roosevelt Road and Harlem Avenue.


The changes would encourage developments to be close to the street so they could be easily accessed by bus riders. Buildings with ground-floor retail also are encouraged.


The Roosevelt Road, between 1st and Harlem avenues, is served by multiple Pace buses.

The Harlem Avenue corridor is between the Harlem/Lake Green Line station and 16th Street.


The area includes the Harlem Blue Line stop on the Forest Park branch. The two Harlem stops saw a combined ridership of 793,000 rides this year through June. That area also is served by the Pace bus system.


The Forest Park commissioners would still need to approve the changes for implementation.