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Access to Chicago River from Cumberland Blue Line Station

Chicago, IL
Access to Chicago River from Cumberland Blue Line Station

The Cumberland Blue Line station is the second to last blue line station from O’hare airport. It is located between a residential neighborhood and the Catherine Chevalier Woods, which is part of the Forest Preserve. On the other side of the forest preserve is an area with many businesses, as well as O’Hare airport. The Desplaines River also runs through these woods, however many residents and business workers complain that there is not enough access to the river--many people don't even know it is there. The goal of this project would be to increase awareness and access to the Desplaines river in this area.
One possible idea is to make signs along both sides of the woods--on N River Road and N East River Road-- telling people about the river. The signs should be simple and resemble those in other areas of the city directing to the river, so that people can begin to associate those signs with the river. A second improvement would be to improve and increase the number of paths leading from the main roads into the preserve to the river. Currently there are only two small paths leading into the preserve from the east side, and very little access to the river from the west side. Creating a better network of trails is the primary way to increase access to the river. A trail can even lead from both the Cumberland and Rosemont station into the forest preserve and to the river. A third improvement would be to improve/ widen the river side path so people can bike or run more easily. Adding picnic areas to the riverside would also bring in more people. However we should avoid developing the riverside area too much by adding shops and cafes etc since it is in a forest preserve and we want to preserve the natural beauty of the river. Adding signs, improving the network of trails, and adding picnic areas by the river would significantly increase accessibility and interest in this area of the Chicago River.
In order to bring this ideas into action, we would need to contact the Cook County Forest Preserves of Cook County and propose our developmental plan to them. We may have to schedule a meeting with them by visiting their headquarters at 536 N Harlem Avenue, River Forest, or calling their office at 1-800-870-3666.

Alan O Chicago, IL

Good idea! I think it is important to spread awareness, considering that a lot of people don't really come in contact with parks very often and advertising is becoming more and more commonplace.

Alexander Fishman Santa Monica, CA

Dear Esha. I'm interested in this idea of developing "but not too much". How would you set limits on what is the 'right' amount of development in an area. I share your idea that we want to preserve nature, while greatly increasing public access and awareness. I am wondering how that could be expressed in terms of a zoning rule or a development proposal.