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Wicker Park, Bucktown, West Town

Sterling Bay’s Big Lincoln Yards Plan Needs To Put Traffic And Parks First, Survey Says

So far, fewer than 500 people weighed in on Sterling Bay's plan to create a new Chicago neighborhood.

Park space proposed for the Lincoln Yards' development.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
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LINCOLN PARK — An online survey asking the public what they thought of Sterling Bay’s plans for Lincoln Yards didn’t get many responses, but those who did weigh in were very focused on how the $5 billion plan would impact infrastructure and transportation in the area. 

Fewer than 500 people responded to the online survey – a fraction of those living in the Bucktown and Lincoln Park wards impacted by the development. Of the respondents, 38.2 percent said they “did not care for” or “hated” the plans the developer rolled out last month.

Another 39.9 percent said they “loved” the proposal or thought it was “good.”

The rest — 21.9 percent — said they were “neutral.”

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) stressed the proposal was just a first draft and would ultimately incorporate community feedback.

Located along the North Branch of the Chicago River between Lincoln Park and Bucktown, Sterling Bay wants to be home to 4,500 new residents, plus add an arts and entertainment district, a 20,000-seat soccer stadium, restaurants, retail and an 800-foot-tall skyscraper to the 53 acres they’ve dubbed Lincoln Yards.

Credit: Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd)
Reactions to Lincoln Yards’ proposal.

The survey went live on July 18, in conjunction with a standing-room only public meeting about the developer’s plans. Since no public comment was permitted after the presentation, it was difficult to gauge an overall reaction. About 60 percent of survey respondents said they did not attend the public meeting, while about 40 percent were either there or watching on Facebook live. 

See the all survey questions and answers here.

Hopkins, who created the survey, published the results on his website on Tuesday.

The survey asked residents to rank elements of the Sterling Bay proposal – from economic benefits to parks and open space. But more than 66 percent of respondents said transportation and infrastructure improvements were most important to them. Options for parks and open spaces was close behind, with more than 50 percent of participants saying that was the most important issue. 

Credit: Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) website.
Elements of Lincoln Yards ranked by importance based on survey respondents.

“Thank you to the more than 450 respondents who shared their valuable opinions and insights,” Hopkins wrote in his newsletter. “This digital survey is just one of many ways I’m soliciting your thoughts and suggestions on the Lincoln Yards proposal. I look forward to residents providing additional feedback both directly to me and in meetings with the development team. This feedback will be utilized to refine the proposal and incorporated in the discussion at the next public meeting.”

Christian Ficara, Hopkins’ chief of staff, said the transportation questions were meant to address the inclusion of different modes of transportation in the development – and there were a lot of those proposed by Sterling Bay.

Potential transportation changes included bike paths, pedestrian walkways and trails, as well as private shuttle service, water taxis, Metra, CTA and the possibility of using former railway systems to connect Lincoln Yards with the Loop.

Credit: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
A proposed transit station at Lincoln Yards.

The Lincoln Yards plan also calls for a long-discussed extension of the elevated 606 path over the Kennedy Expressway and Chicago River, renovating the Metra Clybourn station and adding an Armitage Avenue bridge crossing the Chicago River.

Currently there are just two bridges — Cortland and Webster— allowing folks to cross the River, and both can get very congested during rush hour. The plan would also extend Dominick Street to create a new thoroughfare within Lincoln Yards.

Credit: [Skidmore, Owings & Merrill]
A rendering of a skate park and an extended 606 trail proposed for Lincoln Yards.

After a July 18 meeting, one resident tired of jam-packed traffic in the area said he had joyous goosebumps when he heard of plans for a bridge crossing the River at Armitage. During the presentation, Andy Gloor, a managing partner of Sterling Bay, assured the crowd they also had traffic in mind when planning Lincoln Yards – he sits in the same traffic as everyone else while trying to get get to his son’s lacrosse games in the suburbs. 

Lincoln Yards’ proposed riverfront venues would be built on land that was formerly the city’s Fleet & Facility Management site 1685 N. Throop St. Last August the city sold the land to Sterling Bay for $104.7 million. 

Related: The Hideout, Ada Street Say They’re Sticking Around, Even If Neighborhood Is Transformed By Lincoln Yards

Another public meeting to discuss the project will be announced soon, and in the interim, questions and comments can be sent to Hopkins’ office by emailing 

Proposed soccer stadium. [Skidmore, Owings & Merrill]