Initial Plans Revealed For Bronzeville Trail Parkway

Rendering of potential new bridge for the Bronzeville Trail via the Bronzeville Trail Task Force

Initial plans have been revealed for a new elevated park trail spanning the length of an abandoned Kenwood CTA tracks in Bronzeville. Plans for a recreation space on the aging infrastructure have been discussed as far back as 2005 and recently started solidifying with the creation of the Bronzeville Trail Task Force (BTTF) in 2020 to begin the community outreach and fundraising efforts to execute the concept. The task force is currently working on preliminary studies and budgets while seeking a formal designer for the project as well.

Image of current embankment conditions via the Bronzeville Trail Task Force

Dubbed the ‘Bronzeville Trail’, the new park will try to replicate the success The 606 had on West Town with a similar program. The tracks once belonged to the Kenwood branch of the CTA which began passenger operation in the 1880s and shut down in 1957, along with the Stock Yards line due to dwindling ridership and increasing expenses. Since then the embankments of the tracks have sat abandoned with many of its bridges demolished that will need to be reconstructed.

Site maps of the Bronzeville Trail via the Bronzeville Trail Task Force

The two-mile long parkway will begin at the intersection of E 40th Street and S Dearborn Street to the east and stretch to E 41st Street and S Lake Park Avenue to the west. A large S-curve between S Vincennes Avenue and S Cottage Grove Avenue where it will be interrupted by a housing development will take it down to 41st Street. The new trail will be for walking, biking, and jogging with its eastern end only being a block away from the 41st Street pedestrian bridge, allowing users to have access to the lakefront without having to cross many busy roads.

41st Street bridge via TransSystems

The proposal is part of a greater plan for increased trails and corridors recently announced by the city, and is one of multiple similar plans like the Pilsen Paseo and most recently announced Altenheim Line on the West Side. At the moment there is no timeline on the finalized design or construction of the estimated $100 million project, however more details on its initial efforts are set to be announced at an upcoming community launch event called ‘Celebrate Trails Day’ and will include a parade, conference, and rally.

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11 Comments on "Initial Plans Revealed For Bronzeville Trail Parkway"

  1. Bronzville / Grand Boulevard has all the ingredients for the future of urban living. Ready to build single family lots near the downtown core, lakefront and if built this trail provides a great neighborhood amenity. Single family homes are in the highest demand of housing stock and that stretch between Hyde Park and South Loop has lots in abundance.

    • Totally agree. When you factor in available lots, green space, waterfront, historical housing stock, public transit, and downtown adjacency it easily becomes one of the most developable plots of land in the USA.

    • Single family houses are NOT urban living. Hoping Bronzeville isn’t going to move to an exclusively middle/upper class enclave like Lincoln Park – looking for an alternative to suburbanizing the city.

      • I just realized this was a comment from Gaper – had I noticed before, I would not have wasted time reading it.

  2. Chicago will definitely waste what could be yet another opportunity to build dense multi-family mid and high-rise mixed-use developments like the 606. At best we will see some 4-story buildings here and there rather than proper urban scale.

    The anti-height, anti-density and anti-displacement forces will win out keeping this stretch underutilized with sleepy, leafy streets comprised of Mc’Mansions. Oakland Shores is a good reminder of how bad this city is at urban planning.

    • Oakland Shores is pretty bad. CHA needs to sell off at least some of the empty land here so that it can become a true neighborhood with a mixture of building styles and residents. Otherwise it will forever have a stigma of being a neighborhood of subsidized housing.

    • Very cool! Hope this spurs more development along that area. South Side seems to approve cooler, bolder projects with more vision than the North Side lately so here’s hoping it doesn’t get shrunken by a NIMBY crowd!

  3. @Man, since you dont agree with me you want to shut down conversation? How progressive of you. People want single family homes and they obviously do not want what was there and since destroyed, abandoned and torn down. Just because you dont like them doesnt mean you get to decide how the housing industry, urban planning industry or AEC industry gets to operate. Do know what the densest urban area in the US is? LA, the land of sprawling single family homes. Instead of shutting down, shutting down or shouting over people with differing opinions, try hearing them out and be thankful people like me tolerate people like you.

    • Ok well that’s interesting that LA is the most dense metro area, but definitely not a dense city proper. That said, interestingly, SFHs on standard Chicago lot sizes are actually quite dense (would be at least 20K ppsm) and definitely bring enough density for vibrant urban areas. But most Chicago neighborhoods are a mix of SFHs and multi-unit unless they are part of downtown. Dense developments are going in right now at 43rd and Prairie, 41st and Cottage Grove, lots of 3 and 4 flats going up in addition to SFHs. This area will become plenty dense with an amenity like the Bronzeville Trail added, filling in the empty lots and then as land values continue rising more dense developments will come. For Chicago to truly densify we need to make it easier to get around on alternative transportation modes, which projects like this help. I would love to bike more, but it’s hard to safely get over to the Lakefront trail, which this project will enable.

    • @Gaper – there is nothing about your comments that encourage “conversation”, say whatever you want. I’m just not interested, and that is based on your previous posts.

    • @Gaper chill out man…

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