BACK OF THE YARDS — Several blocks along major commercial corridors in Back of the Yards are poised for street upgrades under city plans.
The upgrades are coming to the 47th Street and Ashland Avenue corridors as part of the city’s Invest South/West initiative, said Chicago Department of Transportation Project Director Luka Benak during a community meeting Tuesday night.
Among the potential streetscape upgrades will be improvements to infrastructure, upgraded crosswalks for pedestrian safety, new street lighting, landscaping like benches or planters, community identifiers like gateway signs and a potential plaza on the northeast corner of 47th Street and Ashland and McDowell avenues, officials said.
The streetscape improvements will run from Loomis Street to Hoyne Avenue along 47th Street and 43rd to 49th streets along Ashland Ave.
The news comes days after city officials announced the winning Invest South/West bid for a vacant plot of land in Back of the Yards. United Yards, a proposal from Celadon Partners and Blackwood Group, will be a 50-unit apartment complex and community hub near 47th Street and Ashland Avenue.
The developer is planning to make additional upgrades to buildings along 47th Street, including the Rainbow building at 47th and Ashland Ave and a small park at 47th Street and Marshfield.
During the community meetings, some residents called for more pedestrian safety measures, potential bike lanes along Ashland and closing McDowell Avenue at 47th and Ashland for a plaza.
Attendees said traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, and speeding drivers are top concerns, and they want city agencies to focus on landscaping, walking and outdoor seating as part of the improvements.
City officials are still seeking feedback to design the improvements.
Later this fall, officials will host another meeting to unveil their plans. Additional roundtables and meetings will be held in winter and spring.
Construction is expected to start in 2022 and be completed in three phases. The final phase is expected to be completed in 2025.
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