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updated: 11/4/2013 6:29 PM

RTA grants will combat reliance on cars

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  • Geneva is in line for a $20,000 transit grant to rewrite its zoning code to better fit recommendations for development around the commuter train station.

       Geneva is in line for a $20,000 transit grant to rewrite its zoning code to better fit recommendations for development around the commuter train station.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Downtown Des Plaines is an example of a transit-oriented center with housing near a Metra station that Pace buses feed into.

      Downtown Des Plaines is an example of a transit-oriented center with housing near a Metra station that Pace buses feed into.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

The Regional Transportation Authority is distributing $360,000 in grants for 10 projects that entice suburbanites out of their cars and into Pace buses or Metra trains, the agency announced Monday.

The funding is intended to encourage transit-oriented development that connects people to buses and trains. Examples can range from building condominiums near stations and terminals to tailoring bus routes and schedules to best fit a community's needs.

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Among the local governments and agencies securing funding are Pace, Fox Lake, Geneva and Kane County.

• Pace will receive $150,000 to study travel patterns and demographics in a number of towns that need more transit options. The communities have yet to be named.

• Kane County's Department of Transportation will get $75,000 to pay for assessing and making recommendations to improve the Ride in Kane program, which transports seniors and disabled riders to jobs and medical appointments. The program is facing funding challenges.

• Geneva is in line for $20,000 to rewrite its zoning code to better fit the recommendations of the Downtown/Station Area Master Plan, which offers guidelines for development.

• Fox Lake will receive $3,000 for Urban Land Institute advisers to work with the village on attracting developers to the Metra station area.

The funding will help Pace "study where people are traveling, community demographics and (obtain) information related to how and if they use transit," spokesman Patrick Wilmot said. That could include understanding where residents travel to work or, if there's a large senior population, where they go for medical appointments, he explained.

The 10 projects were picked out of 17 finalists. The federal government is supplying $276,000 or 77 percent of the funding while the rest comes from the RTA and local matching funds.

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