Tracy Swartz | Red Eye Chicago

Two Chicago suburbs may be changing the rules for future developments near their CTA stations so that these developments would be easy to access for pedestrians and public transit riders.

The Regional Transportation Authority, the funding arm for CTA, Metra and the suburban Pace bus system, announced this week it is giving money to Evanston and Forest Park to promote transit-oriented development near CTA stops.

The projects were awarded through the RTA’s annual community planning program, intended to spur economic development near transit. This year, the RTA doled out $810,000 among 16 programs. The money comes from RTA, federal and locally matched funds.

In Evanston, the RTA awarded $25,000 to the city to study whether its zoning ordinance should be changed to allow fewer parking spaces at new developments by the CTA Purple Line and Metra stations.

The city’s goal is to increase the use of public transportation and eliminate unncessary new parking spaces, according to the RTA. Chicago adoped similar rules last year.

Developments “may not need as much parking because people are going to access it via transit,” said Heather Tabbert, RTA’s manager of local planning and programs.

Tabbert said Evanston commuter and street parking would not be affected by the potential changes.

The Purple Line has logged 1.6 million rides this year through June, the most recent CTA data available. The Metra line that serves Evanston, the Union Pacific/North line, has recorded 5.3 million rides this year through July. Read more