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Chicago Loop Alliance Unveils Final Plans For Transforming Wabash Ave

By Danette Chavez in News on Mar 10, 2015 9:00PM

Courtesy of the Artists.

The Chicago Loop Alliance has just released its final Transforming Wabash Report, which covers the organization's initiative to "promote and strengthen the historic Wabash Avenue district downtown." Although the report is the culmination of the planning and series of projects that occurred over the last year, its authors have their eyes on future improvements for the avenue.

The CLA staff worked with the Wabash Planning Team to put together a list of project recommendations in the categories of district, pedestrian, transportation and lighting, and economic development. So what can we look forward to? For starters, the teams want to literally pave the way for more pedestrians and cyclists with bump-outs (or curb extensions) and marked bike lanes. And, once on Wabash, pedestrians would find it easier to get to cultural institutions and landmarks with "gateway installations, wayfinding signs and placemaking."

Another important part of completing the Wabash transformation involves good old-fashioned marketing. Wabash Avenue would be promoted as a "maker district" to attract start-ups and entrepreneurs. The CLA also wants to build on the area's nightlife and has been talking with hotels as well as boutique properties and bars.

New lighting features are also on the list of recommended projects; they're designed to enhance CTA El stations, including the upcoming Washington/Wabash "superstation," as well as provide exterior up-lighting for historic buildings. We might also finally see The Wabash Lights, which have been in the works for a while.