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Pullman transportation plan calls for better mass transit, wayfinding, and bike routes

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A rendering from the recently announced Pullman National Monument Redevelopment Plan.
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

After collecting comments from Pullman residents and other community stakeholders, officials released a framework transportation plan for the historic Far South Side neighborhood this week. Located 13 miles south of the Loop, Chicago’s original 1880s factory town is expected to draw a growing number of both workers and tourists in the coming years thanks to new developments and its designation as a National Monument in 2015.

A image illustrating the overlapping local, regional, public, and private entities that would be involved in proposed transit upgrades.
Pullman Transportation Plan

Recognizing the potential for growth, the Pullman Transportation Plan presents a multi-faceted approach towards improving connectivity across multiple modes of transit. While Pullman is currently accessible via the Metra Electric District Line and more indirectly through the 95th Street CTA ‘L’ Station, the study concludes that increased train frequency, station upgrades, and better connections to Pullman itself will benefit residents, local businesses, and visitors.

A key part of the future strategy relies on improving and expanding bus service as well as supporting CTA’s Red Line extension initiative to bring a new stop to 115th Street. The study suggests the addition of regular service at 111th Street station instead of its current status as a “flag stop” where a rider must actively request a stop from his or her conductor.

Beyond looking at new and improved ways of bringing people to Pullman, the study also makes wayfinding between transit nodes and the National Monument a top priority. Plans call for new signage along highways, bike lanes, and Metra/CTA stations while a navigational/educational smartphone app to guide visitors on their journey is also being considered.

Potential boulevard design for 111th Street proposed in “Positioning Pullman” document.
Pullman Transportation Plan

The strategy could also add new landscaping, public art, and other place-making initiatives to improve the pedestrian experience along these routes and encourage visitors to linger longer and explore the area.

The Pullman Transit plan also identifies the need for better bike connections to existing transit hubs and the lakefront. New bike lanes on Cottage Grove Avenue, 95th and 111 Streets have been identified as a priority as has expanding Chicago’s Divvy network to the Far South Side neighborhood. Currently, the bike share program extends no further south than 87th Street.

Pullman is building a considerable amount of momentum recently thanks to new investment such as the live/work Artspace Lofts, a major warehouse complex from the Ryan Companies, and a new Whole Foods distribution center. Meanwhile, Chicago-based Bauer Latoza Studio and Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture have been tapped to reimagine and repurpose the historic Pullman Clock Tower and Administration Building.