ROGERS PARK — A study is looking to boost the business friendliness and user experience of Devon Avenue, and it will use community input in the process.
The Elevate Devon corridor plan is looking at the 1-mile stretch of Devon Avenue between Sheridan Road and Ravenswood Avenue, a section that houses portions of Loyola University’s campus and forms the border between Edgewater and Rogers Park.
The corridor plan will develop strategies to boost Devon Avenue’s business climate, pedestrian experience, streetscape and branding, said Sandi Price, executive director of the Rogers Park Business Alliance. The corridor master plan is being funded by the business alliance, the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce and Loyola University.
It will be similar to the corridor plan for Clark Street in Rogers Park that was completed in 2017. That plan has led to Clark Street improvements, including curb bump-outs for easier street crossing, street signs, crosswalk art and the forthcoming redesign of the Clark and Devon intersection.
Similar improvements could come to Devon Avenue, and neighbors will get a say in what they want to see, Price said.
“We want to have a community process,” she said. “We’ve been thinking about this for a long time. What does the community want to see? What do businesses want to see?”
The corridor study is asking neighbors to fill out a survey about Devon Avenue’s greatest needs. Neighbors can also add comments to an interactive map of Devon Avenue and point to areas of strength and weakness along the corridor.
Devon Avenue serves as a destination for Loyola students and families. The corridor has seen improvements before.
In 2013, the Rogers Park and Edgewater chambers launched the “Rogers Edge” branding that can still be seen on street banners along Devon. Bike lanes have been added to the street and concrete planters installed on the sidewalks.
But there are a number of vacant storefront along the stretch of Devon Avenue. The pedestrian right-of-way, which includes the concrete planters, is relatively narrow for similar neighborhood main streets.
“Loyola right there makes it a destination,” she said. “We see a lot of vacancies on this stretch. We hope that with this plan, we can at a minimum fill those spaces.”
The corridor plan is expected to be finalized in the fall, price said. Community workshops will be held this spring and summer. The plan will give community leaders suggestions for improvement projects and allow them to seek funding for such projects.
A stretch of Devon Avenue in West Ridge received a $15 million overhaul beginning in 2015.
For more on Elevate Devon, click here.
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