In February of 2013, the City of Evanston entered into an agreement with the RTA and Parsons Brinckerhoff, a nationally recognized planning consulting firm, to complete the Main Street Station TOD planning study. The purpose of the study was to identify a unified vision for future transit improvements and make the transit investments an economic development opportunity for the Main Street and Chicago Avenue Business Corridors.
The following are some of the objectives identified at the beginning of the Study:
- Plan for the future redesign/improvement of the CTA Purple Line Main Street Station.
- Identify redevelopment opportunities that can capitalize on the anticipated transit investments in the Main Street Station area.
- Strengthen the Metra/CTA customer transfer opportunity.
- Enhance the multi-modal connectivity of the Main Street Station area; including bicycle, pedestrian, and bus service to the rail stations
- Identify public open space opportunities in the study area to further enhance the desirability and livability of the neighborhood.
- Study the feasibility of providing for an elevated multi-purpose bicycle and pedestrian path between the Metra and CTA corridors.
The boundaries of the study area were set as Greenleaf Street to the north, Keeney Street to the south, Michigan Avenue to the east and Ridge Avenue to the west to avoid overlap with 0.5 mile walking radius from the Dempster Street and South Boulevard Stations.
The project stakeholders identified include Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Metropolitan Rail Corporation (METRA) and Union pacific Railroad (UPRR). Along with City staff, representatives from the agencies comprised a Project Advisory Group and Technical Advisory Group both of which met several times through the duration of the project, provided constant feedback and reviewed technical reports and findings.
The City Council adopted the Study with Resolution 4-R-14 at its June, 2014 meeting.
The study documents are outlined below:
Appendix A Existing Conditions as of 03/17/2014
Appendix A.1 – Station Area Existing Conditions
Appendix A.2 – Biking and Walking Conditions
Appendix B – Station Option Evaluation
Appendix C – Market Assessment
Appendix D – Traffic Analysis
Appendix D.1 – Traffic Analysis Synchro Output
Appendix E – Ridership Methodology
Appendix F – Station Renderings
While most of the large scale improvements will have to include federal funding grants administered by the CTA, RTA or Metra, local initiatives by the City of Evanston will also play an important role. The City of Evanston has started working on implementing some of the recommendations identified in the Study. The Chicago Avenue and Main Street TIF district has been established. Staff will negotiate public benefit contributions which could fund public improvements identified in the Study as part of any planned development. Additionally, staff will propose changes to the zoning ordinance that would encourage establishment of retail uses on the ground floors within commercial corridors along Chicago Avenue and Main Street. Future changes to the Zoning Ordinance relative to bike parking requirements and reduced parking requirements for TOD developments, will also be discussed.