City of Chicago and RTA Work to Foster Development and Access to Transit in Jefferson Park and South Shore Communities

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CHICAGO –The City of Chicago and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) today announced progress on two major projects in Chicago community areas. The first is the City’s Planning Commission adoption today of the Jefferson Park Station Area Master Plan (Plan), which provides over 30 strategies for the City and its partners to implement improvements around the Jefferson Park Transit Center (Center) located on Milwaukee Avenue at the Kennedy Expressway.  The second is the announcement of a new planning study in the South Shore community.  Both projects received funding from the RTA’s Community Planning Program, which provides funding and technical assistance to projects that benefit the community and the regional transit system.

"Both of these initiatives will help to leverage vital public transit resources to enhance neighborhood walkability, vitality and community character on behalf of residents and businesses," said David Reifman, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD).

The Jefferson Park Station Area Master Plan (Plan) recommends ways to enhance the area around the Center, assuring the community’s character remains while attracting new economic development near the Center.  A sample of strategies identified in the Plan include: adaptive reuse of vacant storefronts and buildings, particularly on Milwaukee Avenue; identifying opportunities for community gathering spaces that can support outdoor cafés and events; redeveloping vacant land, especially the Milwaukee Avenue, Lawrence Avenue and Long Avenue block; making the Milwaukee Avenue railroad underpass and the pedestrian walkway at the Metra Station more welcoming; and beautifying streetscapes and improving walkability in the area. 

“Today’s approval by the Plan Commission kicks off important work that will enhance Jefferson Park and grow our community,” said 45th Ward Alderman John Arena. “My offices worked with DPD and RTA staff to assure the community was heard in this process and I know we’ll reap the benefits of this work for decades to come.”

“This Center is a pivotal transportation hub in our region, as it is one of the few served by all three transit agencies, CTA, Metra and Pace,” said Leanne Redden, RTA Executive Director.  “Both these projects are exactly the type suited for technical assistance through the RTA’s Community Planning Program. They allow communities to leverage their transit assets and enhance access to transit for riders and residents.”  

The South Shore Planning Study (Study) was awarded technical assistance funding through RTA’s Community Planning Program to develop a plan for East 75th and East 79th Streets, between Stony Island and South Exchange Avenues.   The Study is expected to kick off in early 2019 and to be completed by the end of the year.  It will focus on land use, housing and transit connectivity along both corridors, including applicability of Transit Oriented Development (TOD) on bus routes with high ridership. Conducting a robust community engagement effort will be a study priority.  

Support for the Jefferson Park Master Plan included technical assistance from the RTA as well as allocation of $80,000 in federal funds, $20,000 of RTA funds and 25,000 from the City of Chicago.

 

Support for the South Shore project will include technical assistance from the RTA in addition to $110,000 allocated in federal funds, $32,500 in RTA funding and $7,500 from the City of Chicago.