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Forward-thinking funding policies on the North Shore
This blog post is one in a series of stories featuring some of the great things happening in suburban Chicago communities. The stories will focus on Chicagoland communities that are on the forefront of the movement to encourage healthy, active transportation like walking, biking and public transit.
These are communities Active Trans had the privilege to work with as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative, a federally-funded program aimed at creating healthier and more active lifestyles throughout the nation.
The communities along the north shore of Lake Michigan host some of the best places to bike in Illinois. Residents and visitors have access to great facilities here, including the North Shore and Green Bay trails.
The North Shore Council of Mayors represents municipal leaders from Evanston north to the Lake County line. The council is charged with allocating millions of dollars’ worth of flexible funds for roadway projects each year through the Surface Transportation Program (STP).
The council wanted to update the criteria it uses for awarding money to local projects, and asked the Active Transportation Alliance for assistance with this process. Active Trans formed a committee that included representatives from suburban communities, the Cook County Highway Department, PACE bus, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, and the League of Illinois Bicyclists.
Using the expertise of this committee, Active Trans developed strategies for revising STP funding criteria in suburban Cook County. Active Trans worked with the council to identify which strategies would best fit the North Shore region.
By the end of the process, virtually any bicycle or pedestrian project was able to effectively compete for funds. The new criteria have not only opened up funding possibilities to bicycle and pedestrian projects, they also give priority to projects that benefit health and safety, helping to ensure that the North Shore region remains attractive to residents and visitors alike.
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