There isn’t any doubt that public transit has huge value to people and makes a ton of sense, especially in urban areas.
But in Kane County, where the population is more widespread, designing the right kind of public transportation system is more of a challenge than it might be in the big city.
“At the county level, we have to continue to figure out how to sustain transit,” said Kane County Deputy Director of Transportation Tom Rickert. “The ridership is very low, and Pace is having to remove routes. To make transit viable, to increase the number of users, we’re tying to do our best to continue to improve infrastructure, without municipalities having to change land use. That’s what this report is about.”
The report Rickert is referencing was presented Tuesday to Kane County’s Transportation Committee by Trevor Dick, senior planner for the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning.
In that report, Dick highlighted 60 transportation corridors in Kane County and ranked them using a variety of factors — population density, number of transit connections, job density, presence of existing Pace transit service, “walkability” and the number of transit-dependent population. The resulting list will help officials set priorities for planning and funding of public transportation.
“The goal here is to make sure we’re providing transit that’s efficient,” Dick said.
As you can see by the map above, most of the priority transit areas are in the eastern portion of Kane County — indicated by the blue lines.
“This area has a robust transportation system that includes Pace bus routes and Metra stations, providing opportunities for connections to existing services,” the report says.
Top 10 Transit Corridors
City of Elgin to the City of Geneva primarily along IL Route 31
Galena Boulevard to New York Street through Downtown Aurora
Village of Montgomery to City of Geneva along IL Route 31
City of Elgin to the Village of Algonquin along IL Route 25
City of Aurora to the City of Elgin along Farnsworth Avenue/Kirk Road
City of Elgin to Big Timber Road along IL Route 31
Jericho Road from Downtown Aurora to Orchard Road 7
City of Elgin to the City of Geneva along Routes 25 and 64
State Street through Downtown Geneva
Village of Algonquin to Big Timer Metra station primarily along IL Route 31
What Are the Municipal Benefits?
- Increased public transit ridership potential
- Cost-effective public transit
- Reduced sprawl
- Reduced public infrastructure /service costs
- A foundation for the eventual development of other high-frequency modes of transit
- Increased likelihood of operational & capital funding earmarked for public transit infrastructure & services
What Can Municipalities Do To Support Transit Supportive Corridors?
The report includes important information that can be used by each municipality to promote transit-supportive corridors. A strategy for all communities – regardless whether they have a corridor highlighted in this analysis or not — is to include Pace in the development review process. This will help ensure that bus access and egress is properly designed if proposed to be a transit-supportive development.
Section 2 of the report provides a model zoning ordinance that can be used by communities. The ordinance included can be modified to reflect local circumstances.
Section 3 includes examples of language to include in Comprehensive Plan updates. Language is provided for a number of typical plan sections and like the ordinance language can be modified to suit local desires.
In summary, the following are key activities that municipalities can do to support the creation of transit-supportive corridors:
- Promote higher-density development and a greater mix of uses within these corridors.
- Create and adopt zoning ordinance updates. (using the model language in Section 2 of this report)
- Include supportive language in Comprehensive Plan updates. (see Section 3)
- Continue to promote pedestrian-friendly street design and consider adopting a Complete Streets policy. (CMAP toolkit under development)
- Take steps to improve the walkability and “bikeability” of your community.
- Include PACE in the development review process and incorporate Pace’s Transit Supportive Guidelines in the planning and design process.