The South Lakefront Line connects Hyde Park and the University of Chicago with downtown, and is a catalyst for revitalizing Bronzeville with transit-oriented growth and prosperity.
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 from the Obama Presidential Center through Jackson Park to the Museum of Science and Industry, then on 57th St to the Metra station and the University of Chicago Campus and Medical Center, the largest employer on the south side. It runs on Cottage Grove from the U of C to the Michael Reese Hospital site and into the plaza at McCormick Place. From there to the History Museum (North Ave) it overlaps with the North Lakefront Line to double the frequency of service on the downtown portion of the route.
The South Lakefront Line has the lowest ridership per mile among the routes we’re studying, but by far the highest potential for growth and value captured from new development along the line. There is tremendous potential for regrowing Bronzeville for the twenty-first century—with transit-oriented development made affordable by decoupling the cost of parking from housing, and enough density to be convenient and vibrant. Cottage Grove can be the backbone of neighborhood life, with the most foot traffic, local shopping and job opportunities, new schools and other community amenities. Almost all new (and historical!) American streetcars have been built primarily as catalysts for transit-oriented development and economic growth.
We expect the South Lakefront Line to open with enough ridership to warrant a light rail line, but the growth in ridership and value capture revenue could eventually make it the most profitable investment of public money among the routes we're studying.
This line replaces the local bus service in the corridor.
Length: 10.8 miles
Stops 31 (2.8 per mile)
Average speed: 11-13 mph