UPTOWN — A popular city program to give neighbors more outdoor space during the pandemic is returning this year, once again starting with Leland Avenue on the Far North Side.
Leland Avenue will be made into a “shared street” starting Thursday, weather permitting, according to Alds. James Cappleman (46th) and Matt Martin (47th). The shared street designation will run on Leland from Lincoln Avenue to just east of Sheridan Road.
The city’s shared streets program seeks to curb car traffic on side streets, allowing for more pedestrian uses in the street including walking, running and biking. It was first rolled out last year, as the city sought to give neighbors more space to socially distance while outdoors.
Leland Avenue was the first street to debut as a shared street last year, with plenty of neighbors taking advantage of the reduced car traffic. After starting with a smaller portion of Leland, the shared street was eventually extended east to Sheridan Road and west to the Chicago River.
More than 13 miles of residential roads were closed off last year as part of the shared streets pilot. In 2021, the city’s Department of Transportation will allocate $500,000 to create another 12 to 13 miles of shared streets, city officials said at a March committee meeting.
The Chicago Department of Transportation will soon announce more shared street locations, spokesperson Michael Claffey said. The city is seeking input on where to install shared streets, and neighbors can request one by filling out a survey that is available by clicking here.
This year, Leland’s shared streets will get improvements including upgraded signage and increased city help maintaining the shared street, Martin said in a note to constituents.
Under the shared street program, car access is restricted to local traffic only. To help divert traffic, the city sets up traffic barriers and signage explaining the program.
Cars are still able to enter the street, and delivery trucks, city crews like street sweepers and first responders still have access. Neighbors are still able to park on shared streets.
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