LOGAN SQUARE — A dangerous stretch of Logan Square’s Humboldt Boulevard was recently upgraded thanks to a citywide initiative to improve safety at intersections.
Last week, city crews finished installing three “pedestrian refuge islands” with ADA-compliant ramps on Humboldt Boulevard at Bloomingdale, Dickens and Armitage avenues. Signs will be installed later this month, said Mike Claffey, spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Transportation.
The islands, ramps and signs are meant to make the road safer for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists, Claffey said.
Kat Barry, who has lived in the area for five years, said drivers routinely speed down Humboldt Boulevard, endangering pedestrians, cyclists and people picnicking on the parkway.
The stretch sees a lot of traffic, especially on weekends. There’s an entrance/exit ramp for The 606’s Bloomingdale Trail at Humboldt Boulevard and Bloomingdale Avenue. Further north, there’s a school, Palmer Square Park and popular businesses.
Before the improvements, the stretch didn’t have any curb cuts, which made it hard for pedestrians, cyclists or people using wheelchairs to cross the wide street, Barry said.
“Crossing [the street] was pretty difficult because traffic goes really fast between Palmer Square and North Avenue — people are flying,” she said.
The infrastructure upgrades have already made a difference, Barry said. Now, drivers are slowing down to let pedestrians and cyclists cross, she said.
“I think it’s going to be a big safety improvement for this whole stretch of the boulevard system, which is really widely used,” Barry said.
Ashley Reyes, another neighbor, said she’s seen “numerous” accidents on the boulevard since moving there in 2014. Reyes said while she’s glad to see the improvements, she doesn’t know how effective they’ll be at slowing speeding drivers.
“It looks really great and gives pedestrians a safe space to be,” she said. “I want to know if it will actually solve the problem and it’s not going to make things more dangerous and give people a false sense of security.”
Claffey said the improvements were made in conjunction with a resurfacing project on Humboldt Boulevard from North Avenue to Palmer Street.
The Humboldt Boulevard improvements cost $575,000 in city funds, Claffey said.
The Logan Square project is part of the city’s Vision Zero program, which aims to eliminate traffic-related deaths by improving city streets. Nearly 400 intersections across the city have received similar safety upgrades this year, Claffey said.
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