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Bus riders account for more than 20 percent of people using Lake Shore Drive every day while taking up a fraction of the space that cars do.

A new vision for Southeast Chicago begins to take shape

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Since last year, the Chicago Park District has been leading a public planning effort to connect seven existing and planned open space areas on the far South Side of Chicago.

The team behind the Southeast Area Wide Plan has now released draft recommendations for public review and comment. (View the draft recommendations and submit comments using this online survey.)

This planning process provides a fantastic opportunity for people who live, work or visit the far South Side to weigh-in on the long-term vision for how people will navigate the area and all it has to offer.

The far South Side region has a unique mix of residential, industrial, cultural and recreational areas. Lake Calumet, interstate highways, railroads and other physical barriers have led to a lack of connections and transportation options for residents and visitors alike.

In addition to identifying transportation improvements to help people walk, bike and take transit to Chicago Park District destinations, many of the proposed transportation improvements in the Southeast Area Wide Plan will also help residents access jobs, education and local retail. This is a unique opportunity to get community needs and desires down on paper to inform future transportation decisions.

In 2015, Active Trans released our Big Marsh Access Action Plan, which identified priority improvements for safe bike access to the new park at Big Marsh on the Far South Side. Many of the same barriers and opportunities we identified in that project are echoed in the Southeast Area Wide Plan’s findings.

In October, we convened a meeting of more than a dozen local advocates and community partners to compile a list of key pedestrian, bicycle, and public transit priorities to be included in the plan. As a member of the Access & Transportation Working Group of the Southeast Area Wide Plan, Active Trans was able to directly deliver these community priorities to the project team.

We are happy to report that many of the priorities we identified in our outreach have been included in the draft recommendations, including:

  •          Improving on-street bike connections to Big Marsh
  •          Developing a trail connection between Pullman and Big Marsh across Lake Calumet
  •          Creating east-west trail connections, including on 130th Street
  •          Closing the gap in the Burnham Greenway
  •          Complete the planned extension of the Cal Sag Trail
  •          Extending the CTA Red Line
  •          Enhancing service on the Metra Electric Line 

It is important the project team hears from residents that support these and other ideas. View the draft recommendations and submit comments using this online survey.

Stay up to date on this and other local advocacy priorities by signing-up for Active Trans advocacy alerts.