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Remaking an Historic Corridor: Archer Avenue/Bridgeport, Chicago

For generations Archer Avenue provided a primary route from the Loop to Chicago’s southwest side and beyond. The stretch of Archer Avenue between Canal Street and Ashland Avenue, in the Bridgeport neighborhood, enjoyed a retail and commercial heyday and served as a gathering place for the neighborhood.

That changed drastically with the construction of the Stevenson in 1964, which severed the northern section of the neighborhood along the Chicago River, displacing many businesses and homes, and creating a physical and psychological barrier that still predominates. The affects of the Stevenson and years of economic disinvestment along Archer eventually destroyed the neighborhood’s pedestrian-friendly environment. Today, the four-lane arterial serves as an alternative to the Stevenson, with few traffic lights and a widely flouted speed limit, presenting an imposing barrier for the community—particularly seniors and children. The mostly commercial district suffers from a patchwork of uses ranging from warehouses to auto repair facilities.