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Lincoln Square, North Center, Irving Park

Ald. Matt Martin Reelected After Running Unopposed In 47th Ward

Going into his sophomore term, Martin plans to continue his focus on police reform, affordable housing and safer streets for pedestrians and cyclists.

Ald. Matthew J. Martin (47th) speaks at a City Council meeting on Feb. 1, 2023.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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NORTH CENTER — Ald. Matt Martin will retain his seat representing the 47th Ward.

Martin, who won office in 2019 by fighting through a crowded field, went unchallenged in Tuesday’s race.

The 47th Ward includes parts of North Center, Lincoln Square, Ravenswood, Lakeview, Andersonville and Uptown. 

Martin worked as a civil rights attorney for the Illinois Attorney General’s office before being elected to represent the 47th Ward in 2019. 

He was one of the nine candidates in 2019 vying to replace former Ald. Ameya Pawar, who made an unsuccessful bid for city treasurer. Martin decisively beat former Rahm Emanuel policy chief Michael Negron in a runoff.

Going into a second term, Martin said his plans include continuing to expand affordable housing options in the ward and throughout the city, including more ways to preserve naturally occurring affordable housing, like two- and three-flat residential buildings.

He also said he wants to complete the Leland Avenue Greenway and build more infrastructure to better protect pedestrians and cyclists from drivers.

The Leland Avenue Greenway project was announced in 2019 but has been delayed in part due to the pandemic. The project was set to break ground over the summer but has been pushed to next year, Martin said.

Once built, it would create a create a continuous, low-stress bicycle connection between the North Shore Channel and Lakefront trails and change the traffic pattern at Western and Leland avenues to create a more pedestrian and bicyclist-friendly crossing. 

Martin also hopes to break ground on a concrete protected bike lane along a stretch of Clark Street between Irving Park Road and Montrose Avenue. 

Martin’s office has been reviewing annual collision data since taking office and combining that with feedback from residents to identify the most problematic areas where drivers are hitting pedestrians and bicyclists, he said. 

That’s resulted in new street infrastructure, especially around the neighborhood’s elementary schools, he said. 

Martin also received requests from residents about expanding electric vehicle charging options and is looking into how stations could be installed across the ward’s commercial and residential streets, he said. 

Other priorities include working to reestablish the city’s Department of the Environment and continuing to advocate for alternative policing initiatives like street intervention, free therapy and expanding support for organizations that help address the root causes of gun violence, he said. 

Credit: City of Chicago
The six-story, 63-unit affordable housing project proposed for 4715 N. Western Ave. in Lincoln Square is one step closer to City Council approval.

After he was elected, Martin worked with developers to double the amount of on-site affordable housing above the city’s previous minimum requirement of 10 percent, he said. 

He’s also backed a plan from developer Community Builders to build a six-story, 63-unit development at 4715 N. Western Ave. featuring ground-floor commercial space and 18 public parking spaces. 

The Lincoln Square development has been controversial and underwent several revisions since it was first proposed in 2020 before finally winning key approval last year

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