In alignment with CTA’s goals, the RLE project will help strengthen economic prospects for members of the surrounding communities. - Photo: CTA

In alignment with CTA’s goals, the RLE project will help strengthen economic prospects for members of the surrounding communities.

Photo: CTA

As part of ongoing planning efforts for the transformational Red Line Extension (RLE) project, the Chicago Plan Commission 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 RLE TSD Plan is a proactive effort to create a guide for the future development of the long-disinvested communities located near the RLE project area that is also reflective of the vision of those who currently reside and do business in these communities.

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. “The community-driven Transit Supportive Development Plan is reflective of the input of local residents and business owners and lays out a strategy for balanced and responsible development that brings local economic vitality and supports efforts to foster population growth of the surrounding communities.”

The CTA’s Red Line

The Red Line is CTA’s most traveled rail line, offering 24-hour train service between Howard on the North Side and 95th/Dan Ryan on the South Side via subway through downtown Chicago. 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.

With the adoption of the TSD Plan, the city now has an overarching guide for future community and economic development in the RLE area and it charts a course for interagency collaboration, including prioritizing TOD for the areas surrounding the four RLE stations. The RLE TSD Plan provides a broad set of recommendations, focused on addressing the following 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.

Prepared with substantial community and stakeholder engagement, a consistent focus of the RLE TSD Plan is the importance of development occurring to benefit the existing residential and business community, in addition to attracting new business and facilitating population growth.

"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 Red Line Plan

The TSD Plan incorporates the concept of balanced development and gradual growth, reflecting community feedback, while still supporting the many amenities and opportunities that can come from focusing development efforts around transit. 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.

The plan 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.

The Final RLE TSD Plan reflects comments made during the public comment period beginning February 13 through March 14, 2023. An electronic copy of the RLE Transit-Supportive Development Plan will be available here.

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