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Planning for Transit Oriented Development in a City of 40,000

Crystal Lake, Illinois offers a transit oriented planning case study on the edge of the Chicago metropolitan area.
September 10, 2020, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The city of Crystal Lake, Illinois is working to create a Strategic Action Plan, according to an article by Igor Studenkov. The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), the organization with financial and oversight powers over three transit agencies in northeastern Illinois—the Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, and Pace—is partnering with the city on the plan to "guide community development and transportation planning around the city’s two Metra stations, located on the Union Pacific Northwest line," according to Studenkov.

Crystal Lake is located in McHenry County, which Studenkov describes as the most rural of the six counties in the RTA service area, and the county with the least amount of public transit. "Crystal Lake is better off than much of the county in that regard, because it has two Metra stations and three bus routes," according to Studenkov. "But while the downtown Crystal Lake station is a local transit hub, the Pingree Road station further southeast is more car-orientated."

While the plan is still in early stages of public engagement, Studenkov provides a detailed analysis of the planning scenario, in context of the plan's stated goal of delivering a community-supported vision for the development around the station and long-term transit plan approved by McHenry County in 2019. The article includes details about how planners on the project have responded to the pandemic totally upending traditional public engagement processes, which is sure to be informative for planners working in other jurisdictions.

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Published on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 in Streetsblog Chicago
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