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Dicey Intersection At Ashland, Belmont And Lincoln To Be Overhauled

By Sarah Gouda in News on Mar 31, 2016 4:44PM

Intersection via Google

The dicey West Lakeview intersection at Lincoln, Ashland, and Belmont is finally getting a makeover.

The Chicago Department of Transportation presented plans for the 3-year road project at St. Luke Church on March 29. The proposed improvements, which include extending the curbs at all six corners and eliminating four turns, are much needed changes for an intersection labeled Chicago’s fifth most dangerous as of 2010.

The crash data is discouraging: 32 crashes occurred at the intersection in 2012, 11 percent of which involved pedestrians or cyclists who sustained injuries. Not good. The Tuesday-night presentation honed in on the positive effects the project would have for all roadway users, placing emphasis on plans for dedicated bike lanes and straightened-out crosswalks.

Anyone who has walked through the intersection knows how confusing and dangerous it can be. And given the arrival of a new 75,000-square-foot Whole Foods, these improvements couldn’t have come at a better time—no one should have to risk life and limb just to score some free samples.

Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), who will lead the project alongside Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), noted that the city is finally ready to pick up revitalization efforts after the recession forced many road projects to a halt. The intersection is an essential thoroughfare for public transportation as well. The No. 9 Ashland bus had 9.8 million rides in 2013, topping city routes, while the No. 77 Belmont bus conducted 7.4 million rides and ranked sixth city-wide. And with the CTA's nascent plans to bring back the No. 11 Lincoln bus, the intersection will only become more crowded.

Specific details of the plans include:

*Extending sidewalk bump outs on Lincoln and Ashland avenues.
*Implementing Left-turn restrictions on Lincoln Avenue at the intersection.
*Improving and straightening out crosswalks along Belmont Avenue.
*Delineating dedicated bike lines on Lincoln Avenue through the intersection.
*Situating bus stops at far sides of the intersection.

The second public meeting is slated for fall, with design work to begin in early 2017. Construction will begin sometime in 2017 and end a year later.