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Mid-City Corridor
Segment A-1: Wilson Transfer to 26th/Cicero
Corridor Demographics/Characteristics:
Segment A1 - North
Segment A2 - South

The Mid-City Corridor has been under study for the past half century. As the proposed Crosstown Expressway it was killed off by community opposition in the 1970’s. Its current planning incarnation is as a “transitway” that could also serve as a limited access truck roadway. The corridor is characterized by an industrial strip ¼ mile wide, east of Cicero Avenue and parallel to the Chicago Belt Line Railway.

This corridor ranks as high priority due to the endemic lack of rapid transit cross-town transit options and connection choices. Once completed, the corridor would connect most of the existing (Yr. 2007) rapid transit lines and radically transform the way transit users viewed and interacted with the system and the city. Flanked by medium- to high-density blue-collar residential neighborhoods, there is a solid preexisting ridership base.

Since the 1950’s, as central Chicago has evolved from a manufacturing to a service-based, and now an information-based economy, much of the corridor has experienced industrial decline. Blight has spread to adjacent residential neighborhoods, particularly in the southern portion of the corridor.

Increased regional freight efficiency through initiatives such as CREATE could further reduce the need for freight service, and many of the neglected industrial parcels in the Cicero/Kostner corridor reinvented as medium-density residential, live-work and entertainment uses, and possibly and an extensive linear post-industrial open space corridor. New neighborhoods could be interwoven with the existing stock of solid 2-3 flats, wood frame houses and bungalows typifying the corridor.
Alignment Description

From Wilson Transfer, the alignment immediately diverges from the existing Blue Line alignment in the Kennedy Expressway median, entering a new cut/cover or bored tunnel subway tunnel beneath Cicero Avenue. At Six Corners, the subway briefly turns southeast on Milwaukee Avenue until emerging from tunnel and joins the Belt Line Railway on an elevated embankment.  Continuing south, the alignment again descends into subway, diverging from the Belt Line south of Chicago Avenue and rejoining Cicero Avenue north of Lake Street.

Passing through the South Austin community and the Town of Cicero, the alignment segment terminates at the Cicero Civic Center at 26th/Cicero.
Stations and System Connectivity
  • Wilson Transfer - major intermodal transfer with Blue Line (share track/platforms with Blue Line trains; potential future track/platform expansion would allow timed transfer to Blue Line); transfer with future Lawrence/Lakefront/South Shore Line; transfer with future Devon/Cicero Line; future extension north to Dempster.
  • Six Corners – major commercial cluster and neighborhood-oriented businesses along Milwaukee, Cicero and Irving Park.
  • Belmont/Cicero – transfer to future Belmont/Douglas, Outer Circle Lines.
  • Diversey/Cicero
  • Fullerton/Cicero
  • Chicago/Cicero
  • Grand/Cicero– transfer with Metra UP Milwaukee District West Line (new commuter station required).Transfer to future North Avenue Line.
  • Lake/Cicero – transfer with Green Line, Metra UP West Line (new station required).
  • Jackson/Cicero
  • Congress/Cicero – transfer to Blue Line
  • Cermak/Cicero – transfer to Pink Line
  • 26th/Cicero – stub-end terminal, transfer to Metra BNSF Division. Future transfer to North Ave/Blue Island/26th/Cermak Line.
Independent Utility and Operations:

Yes – line segment can operate independently between terminals, or interlined with Blue Line (to O’Hare).

Ridership Potential:

Coming Soon!

Economic Development Potential:
Station areas: excellent opportunities for mixed-use nodes and sub-centers combining mid-rise residential and retail development. Established nodes (i.e. Six Corners) could be reinforced with infill development. Underutilized or blighted nodes may warrant more extensive (i.e. block-level) redevelopment. Scale of development would range from neighborhood-serving at non-connected stations to sub-regional or regional office/residential at high-volume transfer stations, particularly those serving commuter rail stations.
Recreational and Cultural Opportunities:

Between stations: Regeneration of vacant and underutilized industrial parcels paralleling the Belt Line Railway by introduction of active/passive-use linear corridor. An extensive linear post-industrial open space would be opened for landscape interpretations combining prairie/wetland restoration and preservation/reuse of the existing industrial forms (i.e., Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord by landscape architect Peter Latz). Reinvigorated neighborhoods of artisan lofts on the edges of the space would interweave with the existing housing stock, reinventing the corridor as a mixture of medium-density residential, live-work, entertainment and recreational uses.

Six Corners is a sub-regional center of Chicago’s Northwest Side Polish community.

Environmental Studies/Preliminary Engineering:
Final Design:

Segment A2
Segment A3
Segment A4

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