Most of McKinley Park falls within planned transit-oriented development zones, as shown in a figure from the Existing Conditions Report for the neighborhood plan coming from the McKinley Park Development Council and the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).

City Seeks Feedback on Plan for High-Density Neighborhood Development

Published September 27, 2020

Most of the McKinley Park neighborhood falls within Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (ETOD) zones in a City of Chicago proposal for denser development with limited parking in residential areas near public transit. The draft ETOD Policy Plan, which Chicago city departments and stakeholders have been developing over the past 18 months, is online and available for public comment through Thursday, October 29. 

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"If it's planned and implemented inclusively and intentionally, ETOD could serve as a driver of positive transformation and help ensure a more vibrant, prosperous, healthy and resilient community," said McKinley Park Development Council President John Belcik. "ETOD-type projects near transit-rich hubs offer residents access to vibrant retail districts and services, balanced parking needs, and a variety of housing prices and choices."

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Adding Equity to TOD

The ETOD Policy Plan noted its goals toward equality to bring the benefits of transit-oriented development to traditionally underserved areas on the South and West sides of Chicago. These benefits include easier access to jobs for a larger number of people, reductions in household car ownership and improvements in income and educational achievement, the plan stated.

City of Chicago ETOD Policy Plan Transit Served Locations map screencapA map of transit-served locations in the draft City of Chicago ETOD Policy Plan illustrates TOD site disparities between the North and South sides.The plan is part of the evaluation process for Chicago's transit-oriented development ordinances and amendments, first passed in 2013 and most recently amended in January 2019. These latest updates add high-frequency bus lines to ETOD areas, such as McKinley Park bus routes on South Ashland and South Western avenues, as well as mandates to integrate social equity concerns into transit-oriented development.

ETOD could bring benefits to McKinley Park, Belcik said, "especially for low-income areas and residents of color who stand to gain the most from greater prosperity and connectivity."

Transit-oriented development has been a component of the pending neighborhood plan the McKinley Park Development Council has been working on with the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP).  

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As previously reported here in the McKinley Park News, the development council presented information on transit-oriented development in McKinley Park at a September 2019 neighborhood meeting. Experts from the Metropolitan Planning Council and CMAP shared info on what ETOD might mean for local building requirements, parking and more.

Connect and Comment

The draft ETOD Policy Plan proposes a number of near-term steps, including expanding the TOD designation to a 1/2-mile radius from CTA stations. This is an increase from the current 1/4-mile radius as depicted in the TOD footprint map in CMAP neighborhood plan materials.

The plan also proposes revising Chicago's Affordable Requirements Ordinance to strengthen requirements for affordable housing in transit-oriented developments supported by the city. It highlights opportunities for collaboration with parallel Chicago-led efforts like INVEST South/West and the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force.

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"The challenge becomes how to balance new development with affordability of the neighborhood and ensuring that current residents aren't displaced as they have been in other neighborhoods," Belcik said.

Full information on the ETOD Policy Plan, including translations, is available on the City of Chicago ETOD website. The city is inviting public comment on the policy plan until 5 p.m. on Thursday, October 29, 2020: Interested residents can send email to to submit comments on the plan.

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