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Transit-oriented development expansion gets key city OK

From left: A CTA bus and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and The Inland Group’s planned 100-unit development in Logan Square and the 79th Street CTA bus (Credit: Getty Images, Chicago Transit Authority and David Wilson via Flickr)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to expand the city’s transit-oriented development program received key initial approval this week.

The City Council’s Zoning Committee voted Thursday to expand the developer-friendly program to high-ridership, high-frequency bus routes throughout the city, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The proposal still needs full City Council approval.

Approved in 2013 and expanded two years later, Chicago’s transit-oriented development ordinance allows those developing residential projects within a half-mile of a CTA or Metra rail station to include far fewer parking spaces than normally required.

The program allowed the city and developers to increase density in gentrifying neighborhoods like the West Loop and Logan Square. Now the city is hoping the expansion will boost development in other areas of the city, as well as help reverse ridership losses for CTA buses.

Originally, the program was only to be expanded to the 79th Street and Chicago Avenue bus lines, but the proposal approved Thursday extends the program to six bus routes. Other bus routes in the proposal include Ashland Avenue, Western Avenue, 55th Street and portions of roadways along Lake Shore Drive.

Hundreds of units in transit-oriented developments are currently in the works, including Tandem Partners’ twin buildings totaling 401 units near the Blue Line in the West Loop. In Logan Square, Kiferbaum is developing a 28-unit transit-oriented right next to Clayco’s 132-unit transit-oriented development. [Chicago Sun-Times]Joe Ward

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