Monday, October 31, 2016

Chicago Connector Rail Line Project Seeks $100 Million Grant

In case you missed this last week, we got our first peak at an ambitious public transit plan that would undoubtedly change Chicago forever (via Curbed):
With the lofty goal of curing downtown’s congestion woes while also providing better transit access to the South Side and the site of the Obama Presidential Center, the civic group known as The Chicago Central Area Committee has released its plan to realize the long-discussed 14-mile ‘Chicago Connector’ rail line. The organization has submitted its proposal to the MacArthur Foundation in hopes of scoring a $100 million grant earmarked by the nonprofit to "solve a critical issue." 
The first phase of the project, dubbed the "minimum operable segment" or MOS, would be built to connect the busy West Loop Metra hubs at Union and Ogilvie Stations to the intersection of Columbus and Illinois in Streeterville. Taking advantage of the existing Carroll Avenue below grade right-of-way, this two-mile segment will reportedly cost $750 million.
Minimum Operable Segment

While the "MOS" obviously doesn't directly impact the Sloop, the broader vision would dramatically change how we and others get to and from the neighborhood.  Take a look at this map and your jaw will probably drop:

It's clearly ambitious, but that's probably needed.  Ironically, the group that is behind this vision is also one that is partially credited for sparking development in the Sloop (via Crains):
CCAC Chairman Greg Hummel said he's had preliminary conversations with Obama library officials and aides to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "What I've heard back is they're interested.”  
Though CCAC was involved in the development of the Dearborn Park project in the 1970s, which was the spark that led to a rebirth of the Near South Side as a residential neighborhood, it has only begun to vet its plans with the many local groups that would be affected.
Needless to say, we are excited to see if and how this progresses.  The $100 million grant would be a great start, but we would need a ton more to really make this happen.

This video is worth a watch if you're interested in the vision:

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