LOGAN SQUARE — A portion of Palmer Street stretching from Logan Square to Hanson Park could become the city’s next “shared street” if the proposal wins support from neighbors.
The city is designating some streets as shared streets to give people more room to walk, jog and bike amid the pandemic. Leland Avenue in Ravenswood, Wabansia Avenue in West Town and Drexel Boulevard in Kenwood have all received the treatment in recent weeks. The stretches are open to local traffic only.
Palmer Street could be next if a majority of neighbors get on board. So far, Palmer Street residents in the 35th Ward, one of several wards the stretch passes through, have shown an “overwhelming” amount of support, said Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.
Ramirez-Rosa has collected feedback on the proposal for several weeks. The alderman said he will accept resident comments through Thursday and plans to make his recommendation to the city’s Department of Transportation on Friday.
“If that pattern continues through the rest of the week, then my recommendation would be to support the shared street on Palmer,” Ramirez-Rosa said.
Ramirez-Rosa held a virtual community meeting on the matter last week that drew around a dozen neighbors.
During the meeting, the owner of Chicago Dryer Company at 2200 N. Pulaski Road, a century-old manufacturer of commercial laundry equipment, raised safety concerns. The owner said their large trucks are always coming and going at Palmer Street and Pulaski Road.
“I understand what you’re trying to do for the neighborhood, but it is a serious concern. We need to be able to operate as a business. We’ve been there a long time,” the owner said.
The owners of Laystrom Manufacturing Company at 3900 W. Palmer St. have similar concerns, Ramirez-Rosa said. Because of that, the alderman said he and city officials are looking at possibly leaving out the section of Palmer Street at Pulaski Road.
Chicago is behind other major cities in rolling out a shared streets program. The city’s first shared street debuted at the end of May. But Gia Biagi, Department of Transportation commissioner, told the Tribune Chicago’s not “in a race” with other cities and it’s important to gather community feedback before implementing such changes.
In addition to Ramirez-Rosa, Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th), Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), whose wards cover the stretch of the proposed shared street, are collecting feedback on the Palmer Street proposal.
Waguespack’s chief of the staff, Paul Sajovec, did not comment, saying the part of the street in that ward isn’t extensive. Villegas and Maldonado didn’t return messages seeking comment late Monday.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.