CTA seeks public input on North Side parkways

Tons of old concrete will soon become tons of potential on Chicago's North Side, as the CTA announced plans to clear a century-old embankment wall for what could become public green space.

"This community has lived with the embankment wall for over a hundred years," said Stephanie Cavazos, a spokesperson for the agency's Red Purple Modernization (RPM) project. "We have made the decision to remove the embankment wall."

Without that embankment wall, which cuts into east-west streets every block, Uptown and Edgewater will get a very rare opportunity for such established neighborhoods: a new, one-mile strip of open land.

"This is going to open a mile of community space that can be activated with events, community gatherings, a farmers market," Cavazos said.

Maria Sigman's Salon Echo on Bryn Mawr sits just steps away from the tracks. Sigman said she hopes whatever does go in gives the neighborhood a nice jumpstart.


"Open spaces as far as parks go, maybe a food truck court, art installations..." she said. "My hope is that this whole project will bring more businesses onto Bryn Mawr."

The old wall is so massive, CTA says it'll take all of 2024 to clear it out, but planning for what should replace it will happen much sooner.

"What we're looking for from the community is a block-by-block what is going to serve them the best," said Cavazos.

The newly-vacated space underneath the brand-new Red and Purple Line tracks is expected to be clear by the end of next year. The CTA is going to be formally seeking community input in a series of meetings in late spring and early summer.

Details about those meetings should be announced in the coming weeks.