MPC Will Survey Residents on What Kind of TOD They Want at 95th Red Line Stop

The new 95th Street station. Photo: Jeff Zoline
The new 95th Street station. Photo: Jeff Zoline

In 2014, the Metropolitan Planning Council held workshops with residents to brainstorm ideas for Logan Square’s Emmett Street Parking lot, adjacent to the Logan Blue Line station. This sowed the seeds for the plan for a 100-percent affordable transit-oriented development on the site, which was approved by community members this spring.

Once again MPC will be leading the community input process that will help decide what will go on valuable city-owned land next to an ‘L’ station. Last week Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the CTA announced the 95th Street Transit-Oriented Development Planning Initiative, with the goal of encouraging new development on eight parcels near the recently rehabbed 95th Street Red Line and bus terminal. MPC will be coordinating the community feedback process.

“Today represents an important step towards working directly with Chicago’s communities to spark development that will provide more places to live, work and shop — all within walking distance of a world-class transportation hub,” said Samir Mayekar, deputy mayor for neighborhood and economic development, in a statement. “By driving development that is truly inclusive and making the needed investments in our communities, we can build a Chicago that is stronger, fairer and more prosperous than we found it.”

The eight vacant lots are located on State Street north of 95th Street. They were acquired as part of the $280 million station rehab.

“The new 95th Street station was conceived not only as an important transit hub, but also as a new landmark and anchor for the community,” said CTA president Dorval R. Carter, Jr. in a statement. “This station can be a catalyst for neighborhood improvements, and this TOD process will ensure that the community has an important say in the outcome.”

The public input process has been dubbed a Corridor Development Initiative. After the CDI process is completed, the CTA will develop a request for proposals from potential developers, based on the outcomes of the planning process, reflecting what residents have said they’d like to see, and what’s feasible for the locations.

“The Metropolitan Planning Council is thrilled to partner with CTA on a community-centered planning process at 95th and State Street,” said Kendra Freeman, director of community development and engagement at MPC. “Large-scale transit improvements can anchor future investments and invite new development. The 95th Street Red Line station has long been a gateway to the Far South Side, and the surrounding 95th Street corridor boasts incredible assets including Chicago State University, the Woodsen Regional Library, faith-based partners and engaged constituents. Better understanding community member’s priorities ensures that the future of this block-long parcel truly serves people’s needs and desires, enriching this long-neglected thoroughfare.”

MPC’s CDI is a three-part planning process that helps residents understand issues that shape development, while creating a set of priorities to guide community leaders as they plan for future development in their neighborhoods. Key to the CDI is the hands-on opportunity for residents to “build” what they would like to see and test whether their projects are financially feasible. Details on the community meetings will be announced in the coming weeks.

Hopefully the final plan for the sites will include plenty of transit-friendly affordable housing, which would make it easier for low-income and working-class residents to access job and education opportunities without needing to own a car.

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