Redesigning North Avenue to better serve its purpose: shopping

Shaun Jacobsen is an Uptown resident working in market research for a French company. He graduated recently from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with majors in French and sociology, and a minor in urban planning. He writes in a personal blog, Transitized, about international perspectives on local transportation issues. This article was originally published on Transitized on December 16, 2012

In December, I was walking down North Avenue (near Clybourn Avenue and Halsted Street) in Lincoln Park. Something I’ve noticed before, not only when walking but also on the rare occasion where I’ve driven, is that North Avenue is a very narrow, fast street with narrow sidewalks:

Narrow sidewalk near storefronts on North Avenue. Credit: Shaun Jacobsen.

Narrow sidewalk near storefronts on North Avenue. Credit: Shaun Jacobsen.

There are at least 50 stores/restaurants along/just off of North Avenue. Many of the storefronts are recessed back from the sidewalk (either to create a small plaza or because there is a parking lot). Kudos to the few stores that decided to recess their stores to create a plaza/wider walkway, as the sidewalks are very narrow and the existing street furniture (where it actually exists) doesn’t do much to make pedestrians feel safe from fast-moving traffic on North Avenue. Continue reading Redesigning North Avenue to better serve its purpose: shopping

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Neighbors propose new plan for Logan Square traffic “free for all”

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A rendering of a new design for Logan Square. It may be helpful to look at all six of the images in a new window while you read this article. Open the location on Bing Maps bird’s eye view

If you receive 35th Ward Alderman Colón’s newsletter, you would have seen in December a couple graphics and short description of a Logan Square “reimagination”, or rather, the Logan Square Bicentennial Improvements Project. The “square” of Logan Square is really circle at the confluence of Logan Boulevard, which ends here, Kedzie Avenue (which goes around the west side), and Milwaukee Avenue (which cuts the square).

Three Logan Square residents, Charlie Keel, Don Semple, and Ryan Westrom, have created a new plan for the Logan Square traffic circle, an unrivaled demonstration of multi-modal transportation harmony. I kid. The plan, which reduces the number of lanes, shortens crosswalk distances, and adds a mix of conventional and protected bike lanes, has received support from the Logan Square Preservation Society, Alderman Colón, and Active Transportation Alliance. And maybe even the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT).

Continue reading Neighbors propose new plan for Logan Square traffic “free for all”

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Alderman Solis helps show the link between the Netherlands, Chicago, and safe transportation

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Photo of Alderman Danny Solis by Serge Lubomudrov.

Last night, about 40 people gathered in Simone’s (960 W 18th Street) to hear Alderman Solis (25th Ward) talk about his October trip to the Netherlands. Also speaking was another member of that study tour, Randy Neufeld (note 1, 2), SRAM Cycling Fund director. The Netherlands is a great place in which to investigate successful bicycling planning, policies, and infrastructure. They have the highest share of people cycling, for all trip purposes, in the world, as well as the lowest injury and fatality rate in any kind of traffic. I was hoping the two would ask how many people in attendance have themselves visited the Netherlands. From what I know, at least six people, including myself, have gone there. Continue reading Alderman Solis helps show the link between the Netherlands, Chicago, and safe transportation

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Grid Bits: Street crossings

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Queen’s Landing won’t look like this on Friday: there’ll be a crosswalk and signal here. 

As you consider how you’ll walk to the store tomorrow for some gifts from our guide, know that several people are trying to make street crossings safer. This post is a roundup of different news about how street crossings are changing (for the better) in Chicago.

1. Queen’s Landing

I briefly reported on this two Sundays ago in Grid Shots: Pedestrian access edition. The new crosswalk opened today.

2. Crossing Western Avenue in the 47th Ward

In Alderman Pawar’s email newsletter on Wednesday, he mentioned that he requested CDOT to improve pedestrian signal timings at Western and Sunnywide, Western and Irving Park, and Western and Waveland. “Over the summer I learned that families, school children and senior citizens in our ward have experienced trouble crossing [these intersections]”. Continue reading Grid Bits: Street crossings

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Grid Shots: Pedestrian access edition

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The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) began construction Thursday, November 10, 2011, to restore a lighted signal and crosswalk at 500 S Lake Shore Drive. 

I went on a four-hour bike ride today to gather photos of interesting things, including people walking and cycling in the 65°F warm and windy weather. I came across several places where pedestrian access had become an issue. These issues were manufactured by construction projects, clashing with the City of Chicago’s Complete Streets policy. Continue reading Grid Shots: Pedestrian access edition

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A walking tour of south suburban Riverdale opens my eyes

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The Cook County Forest Preserve District recently installed a multi-use trail in the Kickapoo Meadows forest preserve. This is at 144th and Halsted in Riverdale, Illinois. 

This summer and fall I’ve been working with Active Transportation Alliance to develop bike parking plans for suburban schools and municipalities. This has given me a special opportunity to survey the conditions for walking and biking at numerous locations with a variety of environments unique to their geographies. This is the first article in a series that describes those visits. These plans are paid for by grants from Cook County and the Department of Health and Human Services called Communities Putting Prevention to Work. I’m calling this my “CPPW Series.”

I’m starting with the latest municipality I visited, Riverdale, Illinois. Riverdale is south of Chicago and shares a boundary with the Chicago neighborhoods of Altgeld Gardens, and West Pullman, separated by the Calumet River. You can drive to Riverdale on Halsted Street, or take the Metra Electric-University Park line to its two stations, Ivanhoe and Riverdale. Continue reading A walking tour of south suburban Riverdale opens my eyes

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