ROGERS PARK — City officials are moving forward with plans to turn a portion of Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park into a one-way street.
The Chicago Department of Transportation has recommended a plan to convert Glenwood Avenue into a northbound one-way between Devon Avenue and Pratt Boulevard, Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) said at a community meeting Wednesday.
The reconfiguration would end southbound car traffic while keeping bike lanes in both directions and parking on both sides of the street, Hadden said.
Plans for the changed street have not been finalized. But city officials said they hope removing one direction of traffic will address concerns about traffic and pedestrian safety in the area, something that’s been a topic of heated debate for a decade.
“This is the street we get the most requests on for improvements,” Hadden said at a community town hall where the proposal was discussed. “It’s surprising, the amount of requests we get.”
The plan has Hadden’s support, but her office is seeking further community feedback as the proposal moves forward. To fill out a community survey on the project, click here.
Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park is a popular north-south route for drivers trying to avoid Clark Street and Sheridan Road. It is also a heavily used bike route called a neighborhood greenway.
The street is too narrow to serve two lanes of bike and car traffic plus parking, neighbors said at a community meeting on the topic last summer. The rise in delivery truck traffic has made the street more dangerous, with crashes and cars frequently being side swiped, neighbors have said.
“People are forever waiting behind delivery trucks or dodging large vehicles coming from the opposing direction, which result in near-misses every day for other cars and bikes,” one Rogers Park neighbor said at Wednesday’s town hall.
As a neighborhood greenway, Glenwood is supposed to serve as a low-stress bike route.
The greenway was installed in 2017 in Edgewater and Rogers Park. Glenwood was improved with roundabouts, speed bumps, a contraflow bike lane, signs and curb cut-outs that jut the sidewalk into the street at intersections.
But many of the nicer parts with more bike-friendly infrastructure are in the Edgewater portion of the greenway. Glenwood is one-way with a contraflow bike lane between Foster and Ridge avenues. Because of the Red Line tracks, the greenway moves to Greenview Avenue north of Pratt Boulevard, which is a one-way street with bike lanes in each direction.
When neighbors met last summer to discuss improvements to Glenwood Avenue, the most popular request was to turn it into a one-way. That idea had been rejected previously because it reduced access for emergency vehicles.
But Hadden said the city’s transportation department signed off on the one-way request early this year. The street will be northbound to accommodate emergency responders’ access to the neighborhood, she said.
The Department of Transportation did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
The changes won’t happen soon. About $150,000 in funding needs to be secured for the project, and the 49th Ward is waiting on the transportation department’s final schematics for Glenwood, Hadden said.
The final plan will be brought back to the community for discussion, she said.
Many neighbors at Wednesday’s town hall supported the one-way proposal, saying it is best for car, bike and pedestrian safety on the heavily trafficked street.
“While this will make my southbound commute more difficult in the mornings, I’m thrilled to see that Glenwood will be an easier street to commute on for both northbound cars and both-direction cyclists,” one neighbor said.
Others said the one-way would just shift car traffic to other neighborhood side streets, many of which are already one-way. A single direction could speed up car traffic on Glenwood, making it more dangerous for bicyclists, another neighbor said.
Plus, the configuration of streets like Sheridan Road and Devon Avenue cause the diversion onto Glenwood, causing the problem, neighbors said. A local study is looking into improvements on Devon Avenue.
“It seems to shift the problem from one street to another,” said one neighbor, who lives on nearby Newgard Avenue.
Hadden said improvements to Glenwood are needed for the safety of residents and commuters alike.
“This isn’t going to change overnight,” Hadden said. “Not making a change to address traffic safety here is not an option that’s in the best interest of the neighborhood.”
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