Chicago Red Line Extension Could Transform the South Side

The city’s transit agency is undertaking its biggest expansion ever to finally bring rail to the South Side.

1 minute read

November 24, 2023, 7:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Close-up of 'Red Line Subway Entry' sign with Braille below and train logo above text in Chicago, Illinois.

Heorshe / Adobe Stock

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) is making a close to $2 billion investment in the system’s largest expansion ever, reports Zach Mortice in The Architect’s Newspaper.

The plan aims to fill gaps in the city’s transit system and promote transit-oriented development (TOD) by bringing rail to the South Side. “The city’s goals are to use transit to increase housing access, aid local businesses, promote local cultural assets, and promote wellness.”

The extended Red Line will use primarily elevated tracks, with no intersections with existing roadways. According to the article, of the 86 parcels bought by the city for the project, less than half are single-family homes, and many of them are vacant. “The Federal Transit Administration New Starts grant of $1.97 billion will be delivered by 2024, providing more than half of the project’s $3.6 billion budget. Local funding comes from a $950 million transit tax-increment financing fund.”

The city is targeting areas around the new stations for development, with transit as a catalyst. “Most notably, the station at 111th Street is planned as an anchor for the Roseland Medical District, a multipurpose health campus surrounding the 100-year-old Roseland Community Hospital, a few blocks away.” For residents of the far South the CTA says Side who commute to the Loop, the Red Line extension will save them roughly 30 minutes per trip.

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