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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

Goodbye, Polka-Dots: Crews Break Ground On $16 Million Street Overhaul At Belmont And Lincoln

The streetscaping project will bring permanent curb extensions, new lighting and traffic signals, trees and widened sidewalks to the Lincoln Hub area in Lakeview.

City leaders and contractors broke ground on the Lincoln Hub street-scaping project Thursday.
Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
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LAKEVIEW — A Lincoln Hub streetscaping project is underway to remove blue and green polka-dots and bring safety improvements to a six-way intersection in Lakeview.

The project, expected to finish in summer 2023, will include full-width resurfacing, new lighting and traffic signals, tree planting, widened sidewalks, new decorative crosswalks and larger pedestrian plaza spaces, said Gia Biagi, commissioner for the city’s Department of Transportation.

The streetscaping will happen along three streets:

  • Lincoln Avenue from Wellington Avenue to Melrose Street.
  • Ashland Avenue from Barry Avenue to School Street.
  • Belmont Avenue from Ashland to Southport avenues.

“You really have all the needs, like the need for economic vibrancy and the need for safety crossing the street or biking on it,” Biagi said. “All of that is coming together.”

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
The polka-dot paint that covers the Lincoln Hub will be removed due to resurfacing.

The $16.6 million project is funded through a combination of federal, state and local sources using the city’s Chicago Works capital investment plan, according to CDOT.

It will replace the polka-dot paint and plastic posts that were used to create curb extensions at the Lincoln Hub — the intersection of Lincoln, Southport and Wellington — with permanent infrastructure, officials previously said.

Becca Girsch, executive director of the Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce, said the construction will create headaches for local businesses, but the long-term impact makes it worthwhile.

“It’s going to cause some challenges to our businesses and our residents in the short-term, but in the long-term it’s going to have a huge impact and benefit to the neighborhood,” Girsch said.

Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd), one of three aldermen whose wards include the project, said his office and the Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber have coordinated with local businesses to minimize the impact of construction.

“We just recently met with several businesses to talk about sidewalk cafes to make sure construction is done in a way that doesn’t hurt their business and allows them to continue to operate,” Waguespack said.

Ald. Matt Martin (47th) praised the project for making the Lincoln Hub intersection safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

“Our new vision for this intersection and everything around it is going to work for everyone involved, especially — and as recent tragedies have underscored — for bikers and pedestrians,” Martin said.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), the third alderman whose ward is included in the project, did not attend the groundbreaking.

Credit: Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
Gia Biagi, commissioner for the cit’s Department of Transportation, said the street-scaping project will support economic vibrancy while making the intersection safer for everyone.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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