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Ambitious Wicker Park Plan Envisions New Bike Lanes, Six Corners Fixes & Public Art

By Stephen Gossett in News on Feb 14, 2017 6:04PM

Polish Triangle / Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area No. 33

Even if only a fraction of the proposals included in an ambitious, recently updated plan for Wicker Park actually come to pass, the neighborhood could look markedly different in just a few years time.

Enhanced public spaces, new public-art installations, and improved lighting are among several cornerstones of the plan, which was released on Tuesday by Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area #33. Perhaps the most notable items on the overflowing wish list, however, are transportation-related: the master plan calls for bike lanes along Milwaukee Ave and an improved, more pedestrian-friendly crossings at the notorious Six Corners intersection.

As for the infrastructure proposals, a revamped section of the Polish Triangle jumps out. It calls for the widening of sidewalk along the east side of Milwaukee Ave. “Enlivening this block would also support a more vibrant Polish Triangle and make it easier to access by shortening the pedestrian crossings along Division and Ashland,” the plan reads. A rendering, including happy little cafĂ© with clever chalk sign, is pictured above.

Also on the list of ideas is a call to work with the Chicago Department of Transportation on a pilot project for proposed bike lanes, envisioned for always-bustling Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, including two-to-three-feet buffers. As for the Six Corners, the group floats curb bump-outs and higher-visibility crosswalks:

“Six-corner intersections are particularly complicated to navigate for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles alike. Simplifying these intersections should be a priority. This could be accomplished by claiming space for pedestrians in curb bump-outs, or converting slip lanes to pedestrian space. Altering traffic operations to eliminate left or right turns could also simplify the intersection and improve safety.”

You can check out the whole grand vision—which also includes public-art bike racks, fancy new lighting under the Cortland/Ashland underpass and improved connections to The 606—here. “The plan will be used for the next five to seven years, while keeping in mind a long term vision for the community,” according to the WPB SSA #33, which calls for partnerships with aldermen, the Chamber of Commerce, CDOT, businesses, the Active Transportation Alliance and others.

Bike Lane on Milwaukee Ave. / Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area No. 33

Six Corners / Wicker Park Bucktown Special Service Area No. 33