Cook County’s latest round of grant funding includes several exciting projects for people who walk, bike and ride transit in the city and suburbs.
Last week the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways announced its 2018 Invest in Cook Grant program. The program is designed to advance priorities from the county’s recent long range transportation plan, which has a strong multi-modal focus while emphasizing the many health, community and economic benefits of active transportation modes.
The county is contributing $7 million to fund the 34 approved projects, which leverage an additional $26.8 million in federal, state and local funds. The advocacy of Active Trans and our partners and supporters across the county are closely linked to several winners.
The Burnham Greenway, a trail which connects Chicago to Lansing, has a gap that Active Trans and our allies in the Chicago Southland have been trying to fill in recent years. So we were thrilled to learn that the county awarded the Village of Burnham a grant to begin designing a bike-ped bridge across five rail lines to close the gap.
This year’s grant program also includes funding for bus and pedestrian improvements along 79th Street and along Chicago Avenue, two priority routes from Active Trans’ Back on the Bus campaign, which fights for near-term, low-cost ways to upgrade bus service.
Many of the winning projects in the suburbs can be traced to the recent federally-funded Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) program. Cook County Department of Public Health was awarded a grant which, in part, supported the development of active transportation plans and Complete Streets policies in low-income communities in the Cook County suburbs. The Active Trans planning team led the implementation of the program at the community level.
Winning projects that came out of the PICH program include:
- 31st Street corridor improvements in Brookfield
- Extending the Poplar Avenue Bike Trail in Richton Park
- Designing the Natalie Creek Trail in Midlothian
Many of the suburban projects that received grants are focused on building safer and more convenient connections to the region’s robust network of biking and walking trails, which is the goal of our Trail Connect Chicagoland campaign.
If you'd like to see improvements to trail network in the region, register today for the Trail Connect Chicagoland Summer Summit in Berwyn, where we’ll bring local advocates together and brainstorm ways to fight for better trail connections across the region.