Chicago Plan Commission adopts Red Line Extension plan

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The Chicago Plan Commission has adopted the Red Line Extension (RLE) Transit-Supportive Development (TSD) plan. Led by the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development (DPD), the plan creates a guide for future development of the long-disinvested communities located near the RLE project area.

“The Red Line Extension is a long-awaited project that will not only create transit equity for residents on the Far South Side, it will also drive economic development in the surrounding communities,” said CTA president Dorval R. Carter, Jr., adding the plan is reflects input from local residents and business owners and “lays out a strategy for balanced and responsible development that brings local economic vitality and supports population growth.”

The transformational RLE project will extend the Red Line 5.6 miles from the existing southern terminal at 95th Street to 130th Street, adding four new, fully accessible rail stations near 103rd Street, 111th Street, Michigan Avenue, and 130th Street.

Once completed, the extension will provide long-awaited and much needed connection to jobs, education, and commerce, while also serving as a catalyst for economic development.

Recommendations focus on four goals:

  • Increase residential development, variety and affordability;
  • Strengthen commercial, retail, and mixed-use development;
  • Public space and greater transportation access; and
  • Encourage economic development and employment generators.

“The plan provides a community-driven framework for equitable transit-oriented improvements around the future stations, along with other Far South Side development opportunities that will create stronger, more equitable neighborhoods,” DPD Commissioner Maurice Cox said.

The concept of balanced development and gradual growth is a key strategy. For example, the plan encourages a variety of housing choices, from preserving and rehabbing existing housing to encouraging infill housing on vacant lots, as well as concentrating housing and retail amenities near the new stations.

It also identifies methods and resources needed to enable mixed-use development and enhance economic vitality, while preserving affordable housing. Fundamental to the implementation is the goal of having new growth without displacement of existing residents.

To view the plan, visit the project website at transitchicago.com/rle/tsd.

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