The Elm Leaves reported months ago about our efforts with Pace to improve connectivity along the busy North Avenue corridor in Chicago, Oak Park, Elmwood Park, River Forest, River Grove, Melrose Park, Stone Park, Northlake and Elmhurst. This stems from a project we funded through our Community Planning program with the help of state and federal dollars for Pace to conduct a corridor study of North Avenue between Harlem Avenue and York Road.
I’m happy to report that our study has been completed and you can find it here. To summarize, recommendations include providing improved access to current Pace and CTA bus services; providing improved connections for people walking and biking; transportation and land-use tactics to improve the corridor for future Pace Pulse service.
North Avenue has been the subject of many past community planning efforts. It is a robust corridor with access to interstates and provides key connections to Pace, CTA, Metra and O’Hare Airport. A common theme identified in the community planning review includes North Avenue’s physical and visual function as the ‘front door’ to many communities. These recommendations identify opportunities to improve the multi-modal functions and visual appearances of North Avenue, while still maintaining its regional function as one of Chicagoland’s major arterial corridors.
Communities will be happy to see bike and streetscape improvements at key locations in addition to employment and commercial growth along the corridor. The study recommends that corridor access, appearances and perceptions of safety should continue to be improved to promote North Avenue as the “front door” to its surrounding communities via all modes of traffic, including bus riders, bike riders, walkers — and motorists. This study also presents an opportunity for North Avenue to be primed for Pace’s new Pulse rapid transit service. This system would provide improved limited stop bus service to commuters using the latest technology and streamlined route design, providing fast, frequent and reliable service.
Like the North Avenue Corridor study, the RTA’s Community Planning program provides funding as well as technical assistance to applicants for implementation and planning projects that benefit the community and the regional transit system. If you’re interested in learning more about our program, please visit our Community Planning page.