A coalition of organizations are pushing for a new trail in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood that would use an abandoned elevated railroad line.
The Englewood Line Nature Trail, as the project is being called, will be located between 58th and 59th Streets and would run from Wallace Ave. in the east to Hoyne Ave. in the west --a span of 1.7 miles.
The city is currently in the process of acquiring the land from Northfolk Southern railroad.
Discussions on developing this trail have been taking place since 2009 when the initial trail name was the New ERA (Englewood Remaking America) Trail.
Momentum has pick up again to make this trail a reality. A 2016 kickoff meeting was recently held at Feed, Clothe, and Help the Needy, and led by the Grow Greater Englewood and the urban planning firm, Teska Associates.
Key stakeholders -- including residents, community leaders and business owners -- gave their input and shared feedback on developing an adequate trail that will fit the needs of the community.
Participants chimed in on topics like trail aesthetics, safety, use of the trail for transportation, fostering arts and microbusinesses, community improvement, and how the trail can support recreation and healthy lifestyles.
Cynthia Hudson, Active Trans' community liaison, attended the kickoff meeting and spoke at the workshop.
She shared with participants her concerns regarding pedestrian safety and access to the trail, and how it’s critical for planners to address these issues.
To emphasize the need to consider pedestrian safety, Cynthia noted that the intersection of 63rd and Ashland was rated as one of the top ten most dangerous intersections by Active Trans.
In addition to the Englewood Line Nature Trail, plans to convert other abandon rail lines are underway in Little Village and the far Northwest Side, with the Paseo Trail and Weber Spur Trail, respectively.
With the success of the 606 Bloomingdale Trail, these future trails seek to bring that same vibrancy and contribute in revitalizing surrounding communities for residents and businesses.
The Englewood Line will provide a new way to explore the neighborhood by creating a safe space for recreation, commuting, while also supporting local businesses and creating employment opportunities.
Active Trans is excited about development of the Englewood Line Nature Trail.
Making communities more walkable and bikeable contributes to healthier, more prosperous, and environmentally sustainable communities. These off-street paths provide a safe and inexpensive form of transportation, which in turn encourages more people to bike and walk.
How you can support the Englewood Line Nature Trail
There are a few ways to stay connected and help support the development of the Englewood Line Nature Trail. Follow Grow Greater Englewood on Facebook or connect and share your ideas with the planning team.
Active Trans will be leading a walkability assessment along with community residents to document pedestrian safety concerns near 63rd St. and Ashland Ave. You can RSVP at Cynthia@activetrans.org or by phone 312-216-0464.
Date: March 30, 2016
Time: 1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Location: 63rd and Ashland
This blog post was written by Active Trans Advocacy Intern Viva Yeboah.
Photo courtesy of englewoodline.org
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