RTA Senior Planner, Local Planning & Programs, Brian Hacker presents at yesterday’s regional Planning Workshop.
We’re pleased to report that the RTA Planning Workshop held yesterday with DePaul’s Chaddick Institute was a success! The Workshop brought together a diverse group of professionals from the fields of planning, transportation, private development, non-profit advocacy and education for thought-provoking presentations and discussions. It underlined the value of the RTA’s collaborative efforts around long-range planning tied to our region’s transit system and offered an opportunity to reflect on future challenges and opportunities. This year’s theme, Making an Impact, focused on implementing transit-oriented development (TOD) plans funded by our Community Planning program throughout the region.
A rising demand for housing in transit-served, walkable neighborhoods along with shifts in the real estate market have led to a wave of multi-family residential and mixed-use developments going up near transit stations throughout our region. Seeing the community benefits of their transit assets, many local governments are investing in transit facility improvements and capital projects that improve bike and pedestrian access to transit. With these favorable TOD conditions, our partner communities are seeing tangible progress on the planning projects they’ve completed in past years and our Workshop provided an opportunity for them to share their local success stories and discuss their visions for the future.
After kicking off with introductory presentations from Chaddick and the RTA, we turned to our community partners to highlight their work. The agenda included:
- Amanda Orenchuk, from the Village of Mundelein, chronicled Mundelein’s efforts to redevelop its Metra station area. Since completing a TOD plan with RTA assistance in 2004 the Village has made transformative changes around the Mundelein Station and recently celebrated the opening of Fairhaven Crossing, a 40 unit affordable housing TOD project.
- Scott Coren, of the City of Highwood, talked through the process of converting a vacant hotel into a 104 unit senior residence with a grocery store, among several TOD projects currently underway.
- Stephane Phifer, of the City of Aurora, and Allison Buchwach, of Metra, discussed collaborative efforts to improve Aurora’s Metra stations and the value of investing in transit facilities and access to transit improvements.
- Karie Friling, of the Village of Orland Park, shared the latest developments around the 143rd Street Metra Station, a TOD area that has grown substantially in recent years, added a broad array of housing options, a University of Chicago medical center and a grocery store and parking deck – all within walking distance of transit.
- Several representatives of the municipal planning and private development communities engaged in a panel discussion on current TOD market trends and shared their perspectives on diverse topics like financial incentives, parking and public input.
All presentations from the Workshop are available on the Chaddick Institute website.