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Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Avondale

Here Are The Streets Chicago Is Opening Up To Let Pedestrians, Cyclists Social Distance More Easily

At least six streets, all on the North and Northwest sides, are in line to become "shared streets," officials said.

A woman pushes a stroller near Palmer Square Park in 2014.
Darryl Holliday/DNAinfo
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LOGAN SQUARE — In a long-awaited push to create more room for social-distancing Chicagoans, the city plans to take a cue from other cities and open up some streets to pedestrians.

At least six streets, all on the North and Northwest sides, are currently in line to get the treatment, officials said. Streetsblog was first to report on the data.

The following streets are becoming “shared streets” under the city’s plan:

  • Glenwood Avenue from Carmen Avenue to Devon Avenue, a stretch that cuts through Edgewater and Andersonville.
  • Leland Avenue from Lincoln Avenue to Sheridan Road, a path running from Lincoln Square to Uptown.
  • Palmer Street between Long Avenue and Kedzie Boulevard, from Hanson Park to Palmer Square.
  • Cortland Avenue from Ridgeway Avenue to Rockwell Avenue, a stretch one block north of the 606.
  • West Roscoe Street and North Narragansett Avenue to West Roscoe Street and North Long Avenue, just north of Belmont Cragin.
  • North Wood Street and West Cortland Street to North Wood Street and West North Avenue in Wicker Park and Bucktown.

According to city officials, the South Side will also get “shared streets” but permits have not been pulled yet.

It’s not yet clear when the “shared streets” will take effect or what they’ll look like. Mike Claffey, spokesman for the city’s Department of Transportation, said city officials are working with residents and stakeholders on a plan.

“As Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Gia Biagi has stressed, community engagement has been and will remain a critical component of CDOT’s process when creating new transportation policy,” Claffey said in a written statement.

“As the City anticipates transitioning into a new phase of its re-opening plan sometime in June, CDOT is preparing plans to equitably re-allocate street space to residents, where feasible, for various uses beyond driving a car.”

Several other cities across the country, from New York City to Charlotte, have implemented the shared streets model in recent weeks. In those cities, officials shut down the streets to car traffic and opened them up to pedestrians for walking, biking and jogging.

On May 15, Mayor Lori Lightfoot hinted that businesses may be allowed to operate on “shared streets,” tweeting: “People are itching to get outside. Businesses are looking at creative ways to serve customers. The key is how we do it. Stay tuned for some changes to our streets and sidewalks. Transportation is more than just cars. We’ll show how Chicago can be safer and easier to get around.”

Claffey didn’t provide any further information, saying city officials “will continue working with stakeholders in all of Chicago’s neighborhoods to implement effective and meaningful transportation initiatives that help increase access and mobility for all of Chicago’s residents, while keeping safety at the forefront.”

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