Equitable Transit-Oriented Development


What is ETOD?

Equitable Transit-Oriented Development is a concept that focuses on creating vibrant, accessible, and inclusive communities centered around transit hubs. It combines the principles of transit-oriented development (TOD) with a strong emphasis on equity and social justice. The goal of ETOD is to ensure that communities have access to affordable housing, quality transportation options, and essential amenities within walking distance of transit stations. It aims to create sustainable and livable neighborhoods that benefit all residents, regardless of income, race, age, or ability.

ETOD is:

  • Affordable housing
  • Support for small local-owned businesses
  • Accessible transportation
  • Community Input & Engagement
  • Walkable neighborhoods
  • Murals and sculptures
  • Urban agriculture
  • Green Infrastructure

Elevated Chicago

Elevated Chicago is a collaborative initiative aimed at advancing equitable transit-oriented development (ETOD) in Chicago. It is a partnership between community-based organizations, philanthropic institutions, and government agencies, working together to create inclusive and sustainable communities around transit stations.

The partnership includes community organizations, such as Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Chicago, the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), and the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), along with other nonprofit organizations, financial institutions, and city agencies. It also collaborates with residents, local businesses, and community leaders to ensure that the development efforts are community-driven and responsive to local needs and aspirations.

Elevated Chicago aims to promote equitable development by integrating affordable housing, economic opportunities, and sustainable practices in transit-oriented communities. It seeks to improve access to quality affordable housing, enhance transportation options, stimulate economic development, and support community well-being.

Through its collaborative approach, Elevated Chicago aims to create a model for equitable transit-oriented development that can be replicated and scaled in other communities, promoting a more inclusive and sustainable city for all residents.

ETOD Around Chicago

The city of Chicago is funding 11 projects through a pilot program that promotes equitable transit-oriented development around various stations throughout the city.

The projects being funded are:

  • Briget’s Bodega, 125 W. 95th St., Roseland
  • Coalition Food Hall, 2800 W. Madison St., East Garfield Park
  • Homan-Harrison Mixed-Use Development Project, 600 S. Homan Ave., East Garfield Park
  • Equity Arts Project, 1500 N. Milwaukee Ave., West Town
  • Food Matters, 435 E. 43rd St., Grand Boulevard
  • Gateway 79, State and 79th streets, Chatham
  • Overton Center of Excellence, 221 E. 49th St., Grand Boulevard
  • Albany Park Plaza, 3300 W. Lawrence Ave., Albany Park
  • Cross the Street: Art on Clark, Rogers Park
  • Emmett Street Apartments Public Art and Placemaking, 2614 N. Emmett St., Logan Square
  • 35th/Archer Orange Line ETOD Vision Project, 3528 S. Leavitt St., McKinley Park

In addition, the Chicago City Council approved rezoning at 4715 N. Western (located at the intersection of W. Leland Ave and N. Western Ave) to make into affordable housing units.

Kimball Station Area

Development Opportunities

The area surrounding the Kimball Brown Line station in Albany Park presents a prime opportunity for redevelopment, particularly with a focus on creating affordable housing. With its proximity to public transportation, including the Kimball station itself, the neighborhood possesses excellent connectivity and accessibility, making it an ideal location for transit-oriented development. By incorporating affordable housing options into the redevelopment plan, the neighborhood can address the growing need for accessible housing in the city. Additionally, the presence of nearby amenities, such as schools, parks, and local businesses, further enhances the appeal of this location for potential residents. Through thoughtful planning and collaboration between public and private entities, the Kimball Brown Line station area in Albany Park has the potential to undergo a transformative redevelopment that not only meets the demand for affordable housing but also fosters a sense of community and enhances the overall livability of the neighborhood. 

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Curb Management and Mobility Study

"The RTA is funding its first-ever curb and mobility study for the CTA Brown Line’s Kimball station area on the northwest side of Chicago. The station is a key mobility hub for the Albany Park community, featuring the Brown Line, three CTA bus routes, Divvy and electric scooter share, and ride-hail service—not to mention business deliveries, on-demand package and food delivery, and parking. The mobility options at this station area are an asset to community members, but they also require access to a single constrained resource—the curb". - RTA Chicago

This is a highly used train station next to the river, an open space, as well schools and universities. The area is far too car oriented and creates issues that gets in the way of the station's ability of being a transit hub such as causing people being late to work/school or forcing people to use other forms of transportation.


The allocation of curb space can be optimized to support dedicated bus lanes, protected bike lanes, and curb extensions for pedestrian safety. Additionally, designated areas for passenger pickups and drop-offs can alleviate street congestion. These evolving demands compete with traditional on-street parking, which has historically dominated curb space.

The objective of the study is to prioritize transit access while accommodating these diverse needs. It will rely on community and stakeholder engagement and data analysis to inform decision-making. Residents, business owners, and CTA riders are encouraged to participate in a survey to contribute to the plan's development. More information on this project can be found on the project website. The study is projected to be completed during the winter of 2023/2024.

The NRC has been a key component into making this study come to life. Through our Youth Council, we helped MUSE Community + Design as well as the RTA, who are both part of this project, get in touch with high schoolers from the Kimball station area give their input with what needs improvement in the area. We are well connected with members in the community and facilitated the process of speaking with them about mobility.

Connected Communities Ordinance

The Connected Communities Ordinance is a policy initiative developed in collaboration with Elevated Chicago and over 80 stakeholders, led by the Mayor's Office and the Departments of Planning and Development, Housing, and Transportation in Chicago. It aligns with Chicago's Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) Policy Plan and broader goals of inclusive growth.

Adopted by the City Council in July 2022, this ordinance aims to promote equitable development and thriving neighborhoods near transit, contributing to job creation and reinvestment. It establishes predictable standards for development in these areas, attracting investment and supporting Chicago's economic recovery. The goal is to ensure that every Chicago resident can live in a vibrant, healthy, and affordable community that offers convenient access to transit and essential services such as jobs, schools, and amenities.

The provisions of the ordinance are organized into three main categories:

  1. Expanding TOD Incentives
  2. Enhancing Safety and Active Transportation
  3. Increasing Housing Opportunity and Affordability

By implementing these provisions, the Connected Communities Ordinance seeks to create a more equitable and connected Chicago, where residents can easily access transit options, essential services, and employment opportunities. It strives to foster inclusive growth, improve livability, and support the development of thriving neighborhoods throughout the city.

More info CLICK HERE

  • Parking
  • Density and Affordability
  • "Parking Swap" Bonus
  • People-Friendly Design
  • Inclusionary Application Zoning Process
  • Accessibility Zoning Bonus
  • Glossary

For information on finding affordable housing in the North River area, redirect to the NRC Housing Page.

We provide info on:

  • emergency housing resources
  • tenant resources
  • landlord resources
  • nearby affordable housing applications
  • free legal resources