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What Should Andersonville’s Pedestrian Plaza Look Like? Residents Urged To Weigh In On Catalpa Street Plan

The city is asking neighbors to help select design details for the planned public space, including play equipment and art installations.

City officials are working to turn Catalpa Avenue near Clark Street in to a public space.
Joe Ward/Block Club Chicago
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ANDERSONVILLE — City officials are working on a plan to turn a portion of Catalpa Avenue near Clark Street into a pedestrian gathering space, and they are asking for the neighborhood’s help in choosing a design.

Last month, local elected officials and the Chicago Department of Transportation unveiled plans to turn much of Catalpa between Clark Street and Ashland Avenue into a public space. One lane of traffic on the one-way street will remain, while the other lane, parking spots and sidewalk would be converted into a gathering space.

Now, the city has launched an online survey for residents to weigh in on what design features should be included.

The project has received $750,000 in funding from the state, but a total budget for the project has not yet been set.

“We should really think about the opportunity we have, because it doesn’t happen often,” Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) said at the meeting on the project.

A rendering shows how Catalpa Avenue would be reconfigured to accommodate a public space. [Courtesy Chicago Department of Transportation]

Plans for the park could include decorative pavers, new lighting, neighborhood signs, seating, play equipment and public art. Examples of similar projects show a range of designs such a public space can take, ranging from simple cafe seating and decorations to bright and busy pedestrian zones.

In the survey, neighbors are asked to weigh in on a number of design elements for the project, including what kind of seating is preferred, what lighting and special paving should be installed and what kind of public art is preferable.

Choices given for each design element are meant to show a range of low-and-high-cost options. One question puts it more bluntly: “What level of improvements do you want to see on on Catalpa?”

Neighbors are also being asked what kind of style should be applied to the new public space, traditional, contemporary or bold.

Though a lane on the one-way Catalpa Avenue would remain open to car traffic, the street could be closed for farmers markets, book fairs or performances, neighborhood leaders said at the community meeting.

The Catalpa Street preference survey is available through March 24. To take the survey, click here.

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