Nearly 150 residents participated in a community visioning session on Sept. 14 to plan for the proposed CTA Red Line extension on Chicago’s far South side. Attendees at the meeting, hosted by Developing Communities Project in partnership with MPC, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) and Center for Neighborhood Technology, included Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward), Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward), and representatives from the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Chicago Dept. of Transportation, and Chicago Dept. of Zoning and Land Use Planning.
During the meeting, residents worked with architects and table facilitators to “build” the type of development they would like to see around the four proposed stations along the extension. Recommendations include a mix of two to four story buildings, locally owned and operated businesses, and stations adorned with artwork from neighborhood artists. The input from this meeting will be used by the CTA and city agencies as they plan for the proposed station areas.
Though the project is largely dependent on funding, support for the extension is widespread. Many cite the importance of the project in bringing transit options to the area – which some call a ‘transit desert’ for the lack of public transportation – and in better connecting residents to jobs and retail in the Loop. In addition to this support from community members and city agencies, the project will be listed as one the highest priorities for transportation improvements in the region when CMAP’s GO TO 2040 comprehensive regional plan is approved in October.