The North Lakefront Line connects some of our most densely populated neighborhoods with the central business district, links major destinations together by streetcars that tourists love to ride, and brings order and grandeur to Michigan Avenue.
It runs in a dedicated lane along the entire length and with signal priority at intersections to keep it moving even at rush hour.
It runs along the foot of the high-rise development that overlooks Lake Michigan on Marine and Inner Lake Shore Drive between Lawrence and Belmont. From Belmont to Diversey it runs on Sheridan. From Diversey to North it runs through the park and past the front door of the Zoo on Stockton, then on Clark past the History Museum. Between Armitage and North it overlaps with the Clark Street Line to give passengers a choice between destinations on the Mag Mile or in the heart of the Loop. It runs through downtown on Michigan Avenue from North to Cermak, then into the plaza of McCormick Place Convention Center. It overlaps with the South Lakefront line to double the frequency of service on the downtown portion of the route.
We expect the North Lakefront Line to have more riders per mile than any light rail line in America, and probably too many for bus rapid transit (so many buses would be required that they couldn’t be given signal priority without shutting down traffic on the surrounding grid). It should relieve some of the overcrowding on the Red and Brown Lines—the busiest L stations outside the Loop are the Fullerton and Belmont stations. It can be expected to attract many people who now drive to work—the most common origins for downtown parking garages are Lincoln Park and Lakeview. It could be completed in time to relieve congestion from the upcoming reconstruction of North Lake Shore Drive by accommodating many drivers during construction.
This line replaces all of the express bus service and most of the local bus service in the corridor.
Length: 8.9 miles
Stops: 26 (2.8 per mile)
Average speed: 11-13 mph
North Lakefront line