Lincoln Yards, River District mixed-use projects may benefit from rail line takeover

Goose Island (Credit: Port Urbanism)

The City Council next week will vote on whether to take over abandoned railroad tracks on Goose Island, which could eventually become part of a long-discussed “transit way” serving the Lincoln Yards and Chicago River District developments.

City officials have discussed creating a new public transportation corridor that would serve the anticipated explosion of commercial development along the North Branch of the Chicago River resulting from the recent decision to open up the area to non-industrial uses, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The city is poised to take over rights to the Chicago Terminal Railroad line, which could become a key part of the route from Downtown to the North Branch corridor, where Sterling Bay has proposed its sprawling Lincoln Yards project and where Tribune Media Company has already secured a key approval for its Chicago River District project.

The federal Surface Transportation Board earlier this year ordered Iowa Pacific to abandon the rail line after a spat with Sterling Bay and other developers over the railroad’s practice of parking trains on the line.

The transit way is one of several infrastructure improvements proposed to help alleviate the congestion from the new developments along the North Branch, an area already plagued by heavy traffic and inadequate roads. The city has proposed creating a new TIF district to generate money for infrastructure improvements in the area[Chicago Tribune]— John O’Brien

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