UPTOWN — A draft plan for Clark Street in Uptown includes proposals to add protected bike lanes, public spaces and improved pedestrian amenities.
The Department of Planning and Development released its draft plan under the Clark Street Crossroads study, which looks to provide a planning guide for Clark Street from Montrose to Foster avenues.
The study is being undertaken as the stretch has seen increased developer activity. Four developments are underway on Clark Street between Sunnyside and Wilson avenues, while a five-story apartment building is planned for Clark Street across from Chase Park.
With the wave of private development, the city’s planning agency is working to make sure there is a cohesive plan for future public improvements to the street.
“There was the question of what is this corridor going to be and how do we shape that,” Katharyn Hurd, the planning department’s lead planner for the north region, said at a community meeting Tuesday.
Proposed improvements for the stretch include bike lanes protected by a concrete curb and bollards. The bike lanes would run on each side of the street and could necessitate removing parking from one side of Clark Street, according to the plans.
Further study of the parking and transportation needs will need to be conducted with the Chicago Department of Transportation before the plans are finalized, though protected bike lanes are a “clear community priority,” Hurd said.
Much of the draft study deals with how to improve the pedestrian experience of Clark Street as more residences get built along the corridor.
Other suggestions include adding curb extensions near intersections to cut down on pedestrian time spent in the street as well as mid-block crosswalks. Another component is creating “flexible side streets” along Clark Street that could be easily closed for events and programs.
Ainslie Street and Sunnyside Avenue are proposed sites of the flexible side streets, which could have raised roadways that are flush with the curb allowing for greater pedestrian access to the street.
Major intersections along the corridor could get specialized pavings, which works to reduce the speed of car traffic. There could also be raised crosswalks at some stop-sign intersections.
The draft plan also lists places along Clark Street that could be turned into public spaces. That includes spots along the street where outdoor dining could be added as well as current private land that could be used for public space.
The northeast corner of Clark Street and Sunnyside Avenue and the southwest corner of Clark and Winona streets are lots identified as possible spots for public areas.
The study also lists development and design guidelines for building projects that place an emphasis on street-level experience and activation.
City officials are looking to get the Clark Street master plan approved by the city’s Plan Commission at its March 16 meeting. Neighbors are invited to give their feedback on the plan by filling out this survey by Feb. 12.
To read the Clark Street Crossroads plan, click here.
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