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Chicago's First 'Shared Street' Is Slated To Open This Summer

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 23, 2016 5:11PM

Chicago Department of Transportation

A first-of-its-kind shared street is finally on its way to opening in Chicago. The stretch of Argyle Street between Broadway and Sheridan, in north Uptown, will be shared by cars, pedestrians and bicycles. The city of Chicago detailed the plaza-style project in a statement released on Thursday. It also introduced the Shared Street Pilot Program, which defines the concept and formalizes the Argyle concept.

The goal is to make the corridor more accessible for outdoor commerce and recreation, particularly the weekly evening markets that are common to the neighborhood.

Construction has already begun and is expected to be complete by late summer, according to the Chicago Department of Transportation. Components of the transformation include new streetlights, rainwater collection technology and decorative pavement. Narrower lanes and other vehicular speed-avoidance infrastructure will be added. The roadway level will be raised and curbs will be removed.

The long-in-the-works project could require a shift in perspective from the public, Mike Claffey, Director of Public Affairs at CDOT, told Chicagoist. "It's different than what people are used to. There are not a lot of plaza-like structures in the United States. We expect there will be a learning curve, but we're very excited. The project has been embraced by the alderman and local merchants."

But there will be ample signage to guide the way. "Pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles are allowed to travel; but the key piece is the right of way for pedestrians. It clarifies the standard operating procedure."

CDOT does not have plans similar projects slated at the current moment. "We'll see how it works, how the public takes to it. There's no one size fits all. We're certainly taking a careful look at it. If people say, 'We like this,' we'll see what happens."

Update, 2:20 p.m.:
The first night market is scheduled for Thursday, July 7, Dan Luna, Chief of Staff for Ald. Harry Osterman, told Chicagoist. The corridor from Kenmore Ave to Sheridan Rd is currently accessible, he confirmed. New Lighting has already been installed and crews on Thursday laid the under-bed sand ahead of pavers for the remainder of the space.

See below for additional renderings:

Chicago Department of Transportation

Chicago Department of Transportation