eTOD Pilot Program
We are pleased to announce our first cohort of City of Chicago Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) Pilots. The application process was competitive, and we believe that the final eleven pilots exemplify ETOD in Chicago.
We invited applicants in any stage of development to propose a project that would enable all people regardless of income, ethnicity, age, gender, immigration status or ability to experience the benefits of dense, mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development near transit hubs. Projects may include housing, commercial space, community space, placemaking projects, public art interventions, or other initiatives to promote walkable, accessible, and affordable communities near transit.
Briget’s Bodega, a community-owned grocery store, will be the first in a series of affordable healthy food retail options strategically spaced around the 95th Street Red Line station and developed by the Endeleo Institute. Its equity ownership model in the form of a worker cooperative will help close the racial wealth gap while addressing healthy food access disparities in Washington Heights. The bodega is strongly aligned with City policies and plans including the ETOD Policy Plan, Food Equity Policy Agenda, and a 2019 Corridor Development Initiative for 95th Street.
Coalition Food Hall
Coalition Food Hall is employing a community investment vehicle (CIV) model to open an East Garfield Park food hall market focused on local food entrepreneurs and businesses. Once complete, this 6000 square foot building will hold three independent kitchens outfitted with basic equipment, a bar, walk-up ice cream window and café all situated by 4 bus stops and the California Green Line.
Homan-Harrison Mixed-Use Development Project
The Homan-Harrison Mixed-Use Development project will activate five vacant lots flagged by community members for immediate development to increase safety near the Kedzie-Homan Blue Line station. The future 2-3 story mixed-use building will hold food service retail on the first floor and co-working offices on the 2nd floor master leased by IFF and subleased to other nonprofits serving the greater North Lawndale community. Strategically located to act as a gateway to the community, this project will also improve walkability at a heavily trafficked intersection.
35th & Archer Orange Line ETOD Vision
The McKinley Park Development Council is taking steps to implement the McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan that designated the area around the Orange line station as an optimal ETOD development location. The 35th and Archer Orange Line ETOD Vision Project will promote the development of vacant and underutilized properties in the station area especially for affordable housing and mixed-use commercial development while also presenting pedestrian and bike friendly design strategies.
Albany Park Plaza
North River Commission is developing an ETOD strategy for Albany Park at 4 key sites near the Kimball Brown Line station: a vacant lot, a historic building, a CTA Park and Ride, and a discount retail facility. The Albany Park Plaza ETOD strategy seeks to improve the Lawrence Avenue streetscape and attract new development that will provide affordable housing, enhance livability, provide new job training opportunities, and enliven the neighborhood business district.
Cross the Street: Art on Clark
Cross the Street: Art on Clark will transform 6 crosswalks adjacent to the Rogers Park Metra UPN station and leading to the #22 Clark Street bus. This placemaking and wayfinding project will improve walkability, strengthen transit connections, calm traffic, and beautify the residential and commercial corridor while specifically seeking to address the needs of differently abled people and those whose fist language is not English. The Roger's Park Business Alliance is implementing this project in alignment with the 2017 Vision Clark Street Commercial Corridor Plan.
Emmet Street Apartments
Emmett Street Apartments is a 100-unit affordable housing development adjacent to the Logan Square Blue Line station. As a pilot, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation is receiving seed funding to implement a public art installation and placemaking initiative at Emmett Street Apartments in partnership with the Chicago Public Art Group. Artist Hector Duarte will design the art installation that will celebrate the culture and history of the Latino residents of Logan Square and serve as a centerpiece for a public plaza beginning at Emmett Street Apartments and opening onto Kedzie Avenue.
Equity Arts is a 501(c)3 organization with a placekeeping project to advance racial equity, preserve the arts from displacement, and investigate what reparations in the arts looks like. Equity Arts will launch a planning and fundraising campaign to support the future redevelopment of the historic artists-run property on North Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park and The Chicago Model, a replicable Perpetual Purpose Trust/community ownership model that facilitates sustainable community development, creative placekeeping, and wealth-building. This project is located near the Damen Blue Line station and the North, Milwaukee, and Damen CTA bus routes.
Food Matters is a mixed-use community space focused on improving access to healthy foods and supporting local food entrepreneurs. Located in Bronzeville near the 43rd Street Green Line station, this project includes commercial kitchens, event space, and a greenhouse. The building will serve as a hub for urban agriculture, nutrition education, and a food business mentorship, promoting the physical and economic health of the community.
Carter Temple Community Development Corporation, in partnership with the NHP Foundation, is developing a 5 acre parcel of land adjacent to the 79th Street Red Line Station into a mixed-use development. The building will include both senior and family housing, as well as over 14,000 square feet of retail space. In alignment with the Greater Chatham Initiative Comprehensive Plan, Gateway 79 will revitalize a transit hub and address housing affordability concerns in the community.
Overton Center of Excellence
The Washington Park Development Group is redeveloping a midcentury elementary school into co-working and private office space for local entrepreneurs. The Overton Center of Excellence will leverage recent investments in the Bronzeville and Washington Park communities, such as the Obama Presidential Center, to provide below-market rent to South Side start ups. They are also seeking National Green Building Standards (NGBS) certification, and will use the sustainable building practices as an opportunity for community education. Overton is located in close proximity to the 47th and 51st Street Green Line stations and 47th Street Red Line station.
The process will include a 2-stage application process:
- Call for Proposals: Anyone is invited to submit an initial proposal. We will invite a group of proposed projects to provide additional information in a second round.
- Full Applications: We will evaluate full applications and will select between five and ten projects to take part in the eTOD Pilot/Demonstration.
In partnership with the ETOD Working Group and through an open application process, the City will identify up to 10 pilot projects to begin testing and implementing aspects of the Policy Plan. There are three types of projects that could fall into this process:
- Projects and teams that need support with overall and/or early planning stages
- Projects and teams that need assistance navigating bureaucratic processes at the City and completing a community engagement process
- Projects and teams that are seeking funding
If selected as a pilot project, applicants will receive technical assistance and connections to potential resources from the City. If selected, applicants will also receive equity micro-grants (between $7,500 and $15,000) through Elevated Chicago and Enterprise Community Partners. Equity grants can be used on community engagement processes or to fund a specific feature that will advance equity in the project; micro-grants are not intended for construction or hard costs associated with the project. Larger grants of up to $20,000 are only available for ETOD projects that include a community ownership model.
Additional resources include a network of support from City departments, Elevated Chicago, and other members of the City’s ETOD Working Group. Sponsor organizations for community ownership ETOD projects will be expected to join a cohort managed by Enterprise Community Partners to receive additional technical assistance.
Each application will be evaluated on four overarching criteria: feasibility, equity, alignment, and transit. Each criteria are described in detail below.
Overall question: Is the proposed project set up to be successfully implemented?
Overall question: Does the project advance racial, climate, and/or health equity?
- Does the organization center Black, Brown, Indigenous and other people of color in leadership, decision-making and strategy?
- Was the project shaped through intentional community engagement?
- Does the project maximize benefits to communities disproportionately facing racial, climate or health inequalities/disparities?
- Does the project minimize burdens to communities disproportionately facing racial, climate or health inequalities/disparities?
- Does the project explicitly and intentionally advance racial, climate, and health equity?
- Does the project promote universal accessibility for people with disabilities?
- Does the project advance equity in procurement and supplier diversity by ensuring that small and minority owned firms and Black, Brown, Indigenous and other people of color benefit from development?
- Does the project proposed fulfill needs or desires identified by community residents?
Racial equity: The City of Chicago defines equity as both an outcome and a process. As an outcome equity results in fair and just access to opportunity and resources that provide everyone the ability to thrive. Acknowledging the present and historical inequality that persist in our society, equity is a future state we strive to create where identity and social status no longer predestine life outcomes. As a process, equity requires a new way of doing business: one that
- prioritizes access and opportunities for groups who have the greatest need;
- methodically evaluates benefits and burdens produced by seemingly neutral systems and practices; and
- engages those most impacted by the problems we seek to address as experts in their own experiences, strategists in co-creating solutions, and evaluators of success. (from the Office of Equity and Racial Justice’s draft Equity Statement of Principles)
Climate equity: a product and process that allows all people the opportunity to attain protection from environmental hazards as well as access to environmental benefits for all, regardless of race, income, ethnicity, gender, ability or age. (drafted using ETOD Policy Plan language and language from UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation)
Health equity: a product and process that allows all people the opportunity to attain their highest level of health and differences in health outcomes between groups of people are eliminated. As a process: health equity is an on-going process of assurance and protection of the conditions of that lead to optimal health for all people, which requires at least three things:
- valuing all individuals and populations equally;
- recognizing and rectifying historical injustices and
- providing fair distribution of resources according to need. (from ETOD Policy Plan)
Overall question: Will the proposed project align with the ETOD Policy Plan and other city priorities?
- Does the project clearly align with multiple priorities and goals of the ETOD Policy Plan?
- Does the project clearly align with other City of Chicago priorities and initiatives?
- Does the project intentionally address prevention of displacement (both by gentrification and by disinvestment
Representative City of Chicago priorities and initiatives
- Solutions to End Poverty (STEP) Initiative
- C40 Reinventing Cities Competition
- CDOT Strategic Planning
- Community Wealth Building Initiative
- COVID-19 Recovery Task Force (RTF) Advisory Report
- CTA/CDOT Bus Priority Zone Program
- Healthy Chicago 2025
- Chicago Inclusionary Housing Task Force Report
- Racial Equity Impact Assessment (REIA) on a Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP)
- INVEST South/West
- Chicago’s Blueprint for Fair Housing
- We Will Chicago (Citywide Planning Initiative)
Overall question: Does the proposed project have a transit orientation?
- Is the project within the vicinity (1/2 mile radius) of existing or planned transit hubs (CTA train, select CTA bus corridors, Pace Pulse, Metra stations, or bicycle paths)?
- Is the project designed to promote transit ridership?
- Is the project designed to promote active transportation, including walking and bicycling?
- Is the project designed to promote shared use?
Shared use mobility options refers to forms of infrastructure that support multiple transportation and recreation options, such as walking, bicycling, use of wheelchairs, and more.
Potential projects will be evaluated by a Selection Committee consisting of members of the ETOD Working Group. Members represent numerous City departments, community-based organizations, the private sector, philanthropies, and regional non-profit and governmental partners.
Members of the Selection Committee include representatives from:
- Active Transportation Alliance
- Center for Neighborhood Technology
- Chicago Transit Authority
- Chinese Mutual Aid Association
- Department of Housing
- Department of Planning and Development
- Department of Public Health
- Department of Transportation
- Elevated Chicago
- Enterprise Community Partners
- Far South Side CDC
- Garfield Park Community Council
- Mayor's Office of People for Disabilities
- Metropolitan Agency for Planning
- Metropolitan Planning Council
- Office of the Mayor
- The Community Builders, Inc.
- Urban Land Institute Chicago
The process includes a 2-stage call for proposals:
- Call for Proposals: Anyone is invited to submit a proposal, which will be scored by the ETOD Pilot Selection Committee. The Committee will then invite a group of proposed projects to submit full application for funding.
- Full Applications: The ETOD Selection Committee will evaluate full applications and will select between five and ten projects to take part in the ETOD Pilot.
The ETOD Pilot Selection Committee will evaluate all proposals and applications according to the three criteria outlined above: Equity, Alignment, and Transit. The Selection Committee will score proposals and applications and the highest scoring applications will be selected as the pilot projects.
The City will provide technical assistance to selected projects, which will vary by project need. In addition, an initial grant pool of $135,000 will be available for the pilot projects through partnership with Elevated Chicago. Additional resources include a network of support from other members of the ETOD Working Group.
Resources available from the City of Chicago include:
- Support in navigating and accessing funding streams managed by City agencies, such as an intake meeting with DOH underwriting team
- Support in navigating process to access City-owned vacant lots
- Support in accessing City department programs like CDOT’s Make Way for People Program
- Support in applying a Health and Racial Equity Impact Assessment
- Support in reviewing or partnering on grant applications
- Other technical assistance
Resources available from Elevated Chicago include:
- Incorporation in the Elevated Chicago pipeline
- Access to resources managed by Elevated Chicago’s working groups: capital grants and loans from SPARCC, technical assistance from Enterprise Community Partners and IFF, advocacy and support in community and City council meetings
- Communications and data support including media and social media
- Support for and/or priority in accessing resources managed by Elevated Chicago members, e.g. CCT’s Predevelopment Fund, Section 4 grants, and more
- Support in fundraising for additional public and philanthropic funding
The goals of the ETOD pilot program include promoting policy outcomes and test recommendations included in the ETOD Policy Plan, meaningfully advancing projects that demonstrate the values of ETOD (ranging from early-stage projects to those ready for financing), prioritizing community engagement and encouraging a variety of community-driven submissions, and developing a pipeline of future ETOD projects.
No; an intent to apply is not required. However, if you would like assistance applying, you can email email@example.com and notify the committee of any questions you may have.
Any application questions can be sent to the firstname.lastname@example.org email. If need be, they will then be directed to the appropriate point of contact.
We encourage organizations to only submit proposals for the project they believe is the strongest example of ETOD principals. While organizations are allowed to submit multiple proposals, it is unlikely more than one project from each organization will be selected.
Yes; projects in any Chicago neighborhood are eligible, so long as they meet the location requirements of being within ½ mile of an existing or planned transit stop.
No; we are committed to being flexible with the application and are looking for projects that are all in different places in the development process – from early stage to completion. So long as your project enhances ETOD and satisfies our criteria, you can apply during any development stage.