Proponents of building a bicycle/pedestrian bridge or underpass at the intersection of First and Forest avenues in Riverside suffered a setback last week when they were informed that the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) had turned down two applications to get that ball rolling.

But Randy Brockway, the Riverside resident spearheading the effort, said his group considers the setback a temporary one.

“Frankly, we don’t feel it’s much of a blow,” said Brockway. “We looked at this as one of many grant applications. This doesn’t close the door.”

Thomas Murtha, a senior planner with CMAP, informed Brockway of the agency’s decisions on grant applications on Sept. 7. The agency had put out a call for applications earlier this year to develop a five-year $400 million program of projects that, according to its website “improve air quality, mitigate congestion, and help to implement GO TO 2040,” which is the agency’s regional master plan.

The grant funding was to have come through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program.

The village of Riverside, which sponsored the applications for the grants, sought approximately $2.5 million in two separate requests for an engineering study and construction of the bridge/underpass. The applications were completed in March.

“The CMAQ selection process was very competitive, so the Riverside project was not selected for CMAQ funding,” Murtha wrote in an email to Brockway on Sept. 7.

For a full report, see the Sept. 14 edition of the Landmark.