Plans for ‘shared streets’ to help with social distancing in Chicago moves forward

Chicago News

Plans to shut down a number of streets to car traffic is in the works in an effort to allow people to socially distance outdoors as plans to reopen Chicago move forward

With the lakefront and public parks closed in Chicago due to the coronavirus pandemic, people have taken to the streets.

City permits have been pulled for “shared streets” for physical distancing.

It’s something 47th Ward Alderman Matt Martin said residents have been looking for.

People have expressed an interest in making our streets safer for pedestrians, for bikers, and then for folks who just want to be out and about,” he said.

 Martin and the city asked for the public’s input. They’re working to determine which streets make the most sense.

One stretch they’re testing out would halt thru-traffic on Leland Avenue at Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln Square. The nearly two-mile closure would run through to Sheridan Road but still allow for street parking.

With us, we’re not closing it off entirely to all traffic but more making sure that while maintaining parking that it’s a street that thru-traffic is a priority,” Martin said.

 So far, the Chicago Department of Transportation website shows permits pulled to close four streets for “physical distancing.”

Those streets include

  • Leland Avenue from Lincoln Avenue to Sheridan Road
  • Cortland Avenue  – which runs parallel to the 606  Trail – from Ridgeway Avenue to Rockwell Street.
  • Palmer Street from Long Avenue to Kedzie Avenue
  • Glenwood Avenue from Carmen Avenue to Howard Street.

The Chicago Department of Transportation has not made the official announcement yet.

But in a statement the spokesperson for CDOT said in part they are preparing plans to re-allocate street space to residents.

“CDOT is still working to increase mobility for all Chicago residents, while keeping safety at the forefront,” the statement said.

It’s not clear when these streets will open up to pedestrians but it could happen this week.

The city said they are still working on pulling permits in other areas including areas of the South Side.

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