Chicago Mayor Emanuel, Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Lakeview and the Chicago Transit Authority Announce Construction to Begin on Phase One of New ‘Low-Line’ Art Walk and Garden Project

May 24, 2018

New Low-Line Plazas Will Feature Enhanced Lighting, Seating, Public Art and Pathway Improvements; CTA to Provide Support as Part of Agency’s Commitment to Promoting Neighborhoods

The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, sole service provider to Special Service Area (SSA) 27, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) announce today that construction will begin this June on phase one of the Low-Line project – a one-of-a-kind landmark destination that envisions connecting Southport and Lincoln avenues with a continuous, half-mile long art walk and garden beneath the CTA ‘L’ tracks. The project was first introduced in the 2011 Lakeview Area Master Plan as a means of connecting the neighborhood’s unique sub-districts and beautifying the area for local residents while attracting visitors. Phase one will create new Low-Line plazas at Paulina and Ashland, incorporating enhanced lighting, seating elements, public art and pathway improvements.

SSA 27 and its 501(c)(3) non-profit partner organization, Friends of Lakeview, have partnered with PORT, a leading-edge design consultancy, to envision the future of the Low-Line.

“This is an exciting first step in what promises to be a great addition to a great Chicago community,” says Mayor Emanuel. “I am looking forward to seeing the beautiful new works our artists come up with and the new bonds that will be formed between residents, families and businesses.”

“Mayor Rahm Emanuel and I believe deeply in the importance of supporting neighborhood initiatives that enhance the relationship between transit and community,” says Dorval R. Carter, Jr., CTA president. “This project will serve as a pilot to help establish guidelines for future projects aimed at developing other viable, unused CTA properties and turning them into shared community spaces for Chicagoans to enjoy.”

“We are thrilled to be celebrating phase one of the Low-Line project and would like to extend our appreciation to Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Transit Authority for their support,” says Lee Crandell, executive director of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce and CEO of Friends of Lakeview. "By creating a fun and dynamic public space in a unique Chicago setting, we believe the Low-Line will reinforce Lakeview's status as Chicago's most sought-after neighborhood.”

Phase one construction will begin in early June and run approximately six weeks through mid-July. With funding from SSA 27, work on phase one in 2018 will include completion of the Paulina Plaza and preparation of the Ashland Plaza sites. The expectation is that these new plaza spaces at Ashland and Paulina will be connected in the fall as part of phase two, constructed by Friends of Lakeview, which is kicking off a fundraising campaign to pay for the project (www.lakeviewchamber.com/lowlinevision). Some additional work will be needed to complete phases one and two in 2019. A public meeting will be held early this summer at a to-be-determined date to solicit input on phase two plans and to outline next steps. There is not yet a timeline or design for phase three of the Low-Line, which would link Ashland to Southport, completing the project.

To help ensure the project is properly and safely implemented with no major impacts to rail service, the CTA has agreed to assist with the construction of portions of the project, including site prep and installation, further emphasizing the important role the CTA plays as the focal point of communities throughout the city. Upon completion of the project work, SSA 27 will be responsible for maintaining the plazas, while Friends of Lakeview will maintain the pathway in between.

No major impacts to Brown Line service are expected as a result of the project work, but the CTA and Lakeview Chamber of Commerce will work closely to minimize, and communicate, any potential impacts to neighbors.

Low-Line Project Overview

The Low-Line re-envisions the half-mile space beneath the CTA ‘L’ tracks between Southport and Lincoln avenues as an exciting Chicago art destination and as a fun and dynamic path connecting Lakeview. As a unique attraction, the Low-Line will not only beautify and green the neighborhood, but also has the potential to become a landmark attracting attention to Lakeview and Chicago while encouraging both visitors and residents to explore Lakeview’s local business districts on Southport and Lincoln avenues.

Mural walls along the walkway will play host to rotating art exhibits, creating a larger-than-life outdoor gallery. An interactive light installation along the length of the path will playfully celebrate the ‘L’ structure, creating a quintessentially Chicago experience. Plazas located at Southport, Ashland and Paulina along the future Low-Line path will also incorporate seating elements and opportunities for programming, enhancing the experience for CTA riders and reinforcing the identity of the CTA stations as the heart of our neighborhood.

For more information on the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, please visit www.lakeviewchamber.com or say hello on social media at @thisislakeview. For more information about the Chicago Transit Authority, please visit www.transitchicago.com.

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