Did You Know?

People walking are five times as likely to be killed by a driver traveling 30 mph as one going 20 mph.

Lincoln Yards lacks vision for walking, biking & transit

Last week, the Chicago Plan Commission approved the master plan for Lincoln Yards, a 55-acre mixed use development on the Chicago River that includes Bucktown and Lincoln Park (pictured).

The vote brings Lincoln Yards another step closer to reality.

Lincoln Yards will have major implications for people walking, biking and taking public transportation to and from neighborhoods on the north side.

It’s expected the influx of new residents and workers will create tremendous demand for healthy and sustainable transportation. Despite this opportunity, the master plan lacks a clear strategy to promote walking, biking and transit.

The mega-development provides an immediate opportunity to advance the goal of a 27-mile continuous Chicago River Trail, a top priority of Active Trans. While developers have indicated they will provide space for walking and biking along the river, it is unclear whether this will include separate paths for people on foot and bike, the preferred design laid out in the North Branch Framework Plan.

Separate space for people on foot and bike reduces the potential for conflict and creates a more comfortable environment for everyone using the path.

In addition to progress on the Chicago River Trail, the development is an opportunity to improve transit, especially local bus service. However, bus improvements like dedicated bus lanes, traffic signal prioritization and pre-paid boarding are absent from the master plan.

We agree with concerns raised by residents and community organizations that the plan misses a crucial opportunity to advance affordable housing and includes unclear timelines for creating promised additional green space.

Active Trans’ recommendations to 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins highlight these and other concerns.

So what are the next steps and how can you help the fight for sustainable transportation in the project?

Lincoln Yards will now go before Chicago City Council’s Zoning and Finance Committees for approval. If approved, the plan will be sent to the full city council for a final vote. We’ll continue to monitor developments and provide updates.

You can get involved by calling your alderman (especially if your alderman is Hopkins!) and ask for Lincoln Yards to include:

  • Separated paths for people walking and biking
  • Complete streets designed for all users
  • Bus service improvements such as dedicated lanes, transit signal priority and prepaid boarding
  • Replacing “Riverwalk” with trail or path

Please click here to join the campaign for a continuous Chicago River Trail.


Photo courtesy of Lincoln Yards.