Lakeview plan turns space on Brown Line into park

There are many severely underutilized spaces under the elevated tracks throughout the city.

The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce wants to do something about that on at least one block in its Lakeview Area Master Plan.

During the planning process, researchers noted that Lakeview contains only 0.2 acres of open space per 1,000 residents, while the ideal ratio is 2 acres per 1,000 people. They also noted the empty space under the Brown Line, from the Southport station to Paulina.

And, as the plan architects wrote:

“The Low-Line was born. The proposed path would connect the once
dissociated shopping streets of Lincoln and Southport Avenues, while
increasing available open space to residents.  The Low Line would
feature new native landscaping, solar powered lights, semi-pervious
walking surface, and above all, a space for the local community to
interact away from traffic.  In true urban form we have developed an
efficient layering of uses, in this case two different forms of
transportation.  A little slice of nature in what used to be an
abandoned dirtscape.”

Here’s a drawing illustrating the ideas. Click on it to view a bigger size.

Low Line.jpg



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  • This is one of the reasons why I like the Red Line modernization option that would replace the embankment in the far north neighborhoods with an aerial structure.

  • Good luck growing native landscaping underneath the El. I think you would need more sunlight.

  • Hmmm...Rusty elevated structure keeps rusting, tree pictured easily takes over el structure(IF it grows-as mentioned), tar, dirt, rain and snow dripping onto the hanging lanterns, graffitti on the newly accessible and readable walls, noise from passing trains with idyllic pictures of people walking or sitting underneath.

    I think the idea sounds great, and may improve the look under the el there for a while, but is it really going to be attractive enough after even one year for people to want to walk through there?

  • I had a similar thought recently, up near the Irving Park station. The right-of-way under the tracks could be used for a bike path.

  • In reply to jumblebunny:

    A bike path seems better than walking, due to the noise generated above. Perhaps low lying, low sunlight plants & bushes around a bike path would work out. It could also have newer tech high efficiency lighting(even solar if panels were at/above track level for nightime.

  • If no one cleans the solar panels on those lights they'll be completely useless in a matter of months. Money well spent.

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