Altenheim Line Planning Study
Plan Adoption and Implementation
The Altenheim Line Framework plan was adopted by the Chicago Plan Commission on Jan. 19, 2023. An informational presentation was initially made on Nov. 17, 2022, and the draft plan was posted for public comment from Nov. 17 to Dec. 30, 2022. The final version of the plan is available to be read and downloaded, as is the final presentation to the Plan Commission.
DPD staff will continue working to implement the plan’s recommendations. Next steps include a real estate study of the rail line and surrounding properties, inspection of the infrastructure and negotiations with the railroad. Periodic updates will be made as more information is available. Questions and comments can always be directed to email@example.com.
The Altenheim Line Framework is a “rails with trails” planning study for the CSX Altenheim railroad corridor, located in the communities of North Lawndale, East Garfield Park and West Garfield Park and led by the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) in coordination with the Chicago departments of Transportation (CDOT), Housing (DOH), and the offices of Alds. Michael Scott, Jr., Monique Scott (24th) and Jason Ervin (28th).
The study’s focus is a two-mile section of CSX-owned railroad right-of-way between Kostner and California avenues, along with public and privately owned industrial, residential and commercial properties on surrounding blocks.
Initiated in the summer of 2021, the goal of the study was to create a community-driven framework plan to potentially add a trail and related amenities to the rail corridor. The long-term improvements would support a comprehensive vision for residential, commercial and industrial redevelopment within North Lawndale that is central to Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West initiative.
Located a block to the north and running parallel to Roosevelt Road, the rail corridor is approximately 100 feet wide and has active tracks. The study considers a linear greenway with trails and other public amenities for unused portions of the corridor where tracks have been removed. The greenway would connect with the city’s boulevard system and provide off-street pedestrian and bike connections toward other neighborhood destinations. The tracks would continue to be used for current and future railroad needs.
The Altenheim line previously served the former Sears Roebuck headquarters complex and other North Lawndale industrial facilities, but today, it is primarily used for rail car storage and as a connector to other rail lines, yards and junctions.
Trail design, amenities, funding, construction schedule, maintenance needs, ownership and other details are yet to be determined.
The planning team and local aldermen hosted a series community meetings to guide the framework process and gather feedback on potential recommendations for conceptual designs, access points, and implementation. The meetings began in August 2021, and materials are available below.