How to rebuild neighborhoods? Start with equitable transit.

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Chicago’s new ETOD Policy Plan, created by more than 80 people and organizations and supported by many more, was adopted in 2020 and is now being implemented by the Chicago Transit Authority and the city departments of Housing, Transportation, and Planning & Development.

In Washington Park, the CTA Garfield Green Line station was once the gateway to a successful Black entertainment and business district. Today, community leaders in our coalition are hard at work shaping a renewed vision. The Green Line South Community Table, convened by poet and activist Leslé Honoré and including residents and Black-led organizations like Emerald South Collaborative, is collaborating with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, the city, philanthropy and businesses.

Using a modest grant from Elevated, they have leveraged millions of dollars. They are making the walk to and from the station safer and more beautiful through art, culture and traffic calming; planting sunflower fields in vacant lots; turning an empty school into a climate-resilient business incubator; reviving a historic CTA station as commercial space—the list goes on. They are not alone.

Other organizations led by people of color, like Endeleo Institute, the Foundation for Homan Square and the Garfield Park Community Council, are testing ETOD solutions in the West and South sides, spurring development that is healthy, climate resilient and well connected to jobs.

The best way for government, corporations, anchor institutions and philanthropy to start repairing the unspeakable horror of race massacres and insidious consequences of racist policies perpetrated over the past century is by reinvesting in communities of color.

Community organizations know the ingredients for success because they enjoyed them in the past: quality transit; safe and walkable streets; gentle urban density; and a healthy mix of homes, commerce, green spaces and cultural institutions.

What communities of color need to restore their stolen vitality are sizable and steady investments, new development rules like ETOD and the self-determination that comes with real equity. It is up to all of us to support their success.

Roberto Requejo is program director of Elevated Chicago.

via Crain’s Chicago Business

June 20, 2021 at 04:34PM

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