FULTON MARKET — After breaking ground on the project more than a year ago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and West Loop leaders unveiled the completed first phase of the $20 million Fulton Market streetscape project Tuesday.
The two-phase project, which includes a full reconstruction of the street and the installation of reclaimed granite at intersections and street furniture, aims to make Fulton Market more pedestrian-friendly while preserving the historic character of the street, Chicago Department of Transportation officials said.
“The new streetscape is a major milestone in the redevelopment of Fulton Market, an area that was Chicago’s economic engine in the 19th Century that has been reborn and is now powering the city’s tech boom,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.
The first phase of the project focused on improvements between Halsted and Carpenter streets.
As part of the streetscape work, sidewalks were widened, shorter pedestrian crossings at intersections were created and separate parking zones for trucks were created. New bike racks, energy-efficient LED street lighting and ADA-compliant ramps were also installed.
The West Loop Community Organization-sponsored seasonal, weekly market called Fulton Market Expo is hosted on Fulton Market between Green and Peoria streets — the stretch of Fulton that was improved as part of the streetscape project, said Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld.
The second phase of the streetscape project, which will make improvements along Fulton between Carpenter street and Ogden Avenue, is expected to begin in the coming weeks and be completed by the end of 2019, Scheinfield said.
The City Council designated the Fulton-Randolph Market District as a Chicago landmark in July 2015, and the streetscape project was introduced and approved in the same year.
Among the first improvements was the $500,000 gateway arch at Fulton and Halsted, which debuted in February 2015.
At the ribbon cutting, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) said the Fulton Market area was “neglected for many years,” but city officials and West Loop leaders made a commitment to work together to transform the street.
Carla Agostinelli, executive director of the West Loop Community Organization, said the improvements pays tribute to the neighborhoods meatpacking past, while making way to new industry that has made the neighborhood its home in the recent years.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the city on the advancement and development of the Fulton Market corridor,” Agostinelli said.
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