Near North Neighborhood Research & Data
Given that the place name “Cabrini-Green” is so strongly associated with the model of public housing that the Plan for Transformation is removing, most Chicagoans and neighborhood residents are ready to leave that name behind as the area along Division Street west of Orleans is reinvented. Yet, at present, the area remains at the edge and between more recognizable neighborhoods.
One new development takes its name from its location south of North Avenue, others from Old Town, while participants in the Reconnecting Neighborhoods process ask if the area is becoming Gold Coast West, and new high end development extends up the canal from River North. The process of making connections to these adjacent neighborhoods, where existing CTA stations are located, will need to overcome social distancing greater than the physical spaces that separate it. New mixed income housing developments will go a long way to bridging those gaps, as new residents seek out nearby shopping, dining, and employment opportunities. A new CTA station at the heart of the area, and other improvements to the public realm, could help a new community identity emerge—with this neighborhood’s name waiting still to be coined.
- Analysis and Issues
- Transit Lines and Routes, Service, and Facilities
- Access to Commercial: Land Use
- The study area is served by four rail transit stations, and half-mile radius service areas for these stations cover all but a small portion of the area.
- A service area gap exists between the two Red Line stations
- Transit facilities and buses operate on the edges of the study area, leaving the interior between the major streets a quarter-mile or more distant from a station or bus route.
- Red Line
- The CTA Red Line operates as a subway passing through the study area below Division Street and Clybourn Avenue. The Clark/Division Station and the North/Clybourn Station serve the area, their half-mile walk circles extending from North Avenue down Halsted to Division Street and west from Clark to the intersection of Division and Clybourn. There is a gap of roughly 1000 feet between these two walk circles. The CTA is currently designing a new entrance to the Clark/Division Station at LaSalle Street, which will bring the station one block closer to the study area.
- Brown Line
- The CTA Brown Line is an elevated track running behind buildings fronting on the east side of Orleans Street and south side of North Avenue. The Chicago and Sedgwick stations serve the study area, with only a narrow gap between their half-mile walk circles. The Purple Line Express also stops at Chicago and Sedgwick stations during weekday rush periods. The Brown Line and its stations are currently undergoing an extensive renovation which will expand capacity and make all stations ADA accessible.
- Bus Routes
- CTA buses operate on North Avenue (#72), Division Street (#70), Chicago (#66), Halsted (#8 and #132), and on Sedgwick to Orleans (#11). Buses do not operate on Clybourn or on Larrabee Street.
- Walk Circles and Rail Transit Service Area
- The service area for most forms of transit is typically defined as a half-mile, or ten-minute, walk from the station. Therefore, a half-mile radius circle centered on a transit station provides an indication of the service area. In an area with an urban street grid the walk circle will roughly correspond to actual walk distances along public right of way, however, where interruptions in the grid occur a half-mile walk can fall short of the circle radius. In the study area, direct access to stations is provided on main streets, such as Halsted or Chicago. Even in areas where the grid is interrupted, by superblocks or a lack of connecting streets, pedestrian access to these main streets from most locations is possible without taking indirect routes.
The walk circle analysis shows a part of the southwest quadrant of the study area to be farther than a half-mile walk to the Red or Brown Line stations. An electric power substation occupies a portion of this area between Crosby and Howe streets. Some newer housing units along and south of Division Street are located in this service area gap, but these are only a few hundred feet outside the half-mile circle.
Neighborhood grocers, coffee shops and diners, bookstores, and boutique shops provide more than necessary daily goods and services, they also offer spaces for public interaction that constitutes the social life of the community. A neighborhood without access to local commercial space is poorer culturally as well as in terms of economic exchange. Market experts shout out for more rooftops to bring the necessary demand, and new rooftops (or housing units) are being constructed in the Reconnecting Neighborhoods study areas. Planning and zoning can help to reserve quality locations for new retail, rather than miss opportunities as residential infill moves forward.