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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

What Should Western Avenue Look Like For Next 30 Years? Take A City Survey To Weigh In

The survey asks people who live and work nearby to identify the biggest draws and challenges of Western Avenue between Addison and Howard streets.

The Western CTA Brown Line stop in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood on January 29, 2021.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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LINCOLN SQUARE — The city wants North Side residents to participate in a study to shape the future of a 5-mile stretch of Western Avenue. 

The city’s departments of planning and development and transportation are overseeing the Western Avenue Corridor Study, which aims to look at land uses, development patterns and traffic circulation along Western Avenue between Addison and Howard streets. 

The 5-mile stretch of Western cuts through portions of North Center, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square and West Ridge. The study is funded by a combination of TIF districts. 

The survey started collecting responses in December, and it is open through Jan. 31. More than 1,500 responses have been recorded. 

“Western Avenue is probably one of the most important north-to-south arterial avenues in the city,” Maurice Cox, the city’s planing commissioner, said at a community meeting Wednesday. 

The survey asks people who live and work nearby to identify the biggest draws and challenges of the roadway. Residents also have open space in the survey to share ideas about how officials can improve the overall look, design and function of the thoroughfare.

Credit: Provided
Survey respondent demographics presented Jan. 27, 2021.

The street is very busy and has historically been so “auto-centric” that its design has often overlooked pedestrians, Cox said.

Once the study is complete, it will help the city decide how to increase density, promote a greater mix of land uses and improve pedestrian safety, among other things. 

“We know that there are particular intersections, Lawrence and Western come to mind as well as some due south of there, where folks feel like Western is a real dividing line,” Ald. Matt Martin (47th) said. 

Credit: Provided
Early survey findings presented Jan. 27, 2021.

“This is the kind of thing you only see once in a lifetime,” Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) said. 

The study is expected to conclude this summer with a presentation of its goals and strategies to the city’s plan commission.

Questions and comments can be directed to WesternAve@cityofchicago.org.

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