Between Clark and Lincoln (47th Ward), the barriers went up Friday and people are using that stretch as a shared street.
East of Clark (46th Ward), a shared street is not practical due to planned and existing construction projects this summer.
(A shared street means pedestrians and cyclists can use the street along with cars. Local vehicular traffic is allowed; but through traffic is prohibited.)
Ald. Martin (47th Ward) says:
"The Chicago Department of Transportation is piloting a 'shared streets' program, which will include Leland Ave east of Lincoln Ave in the 47th Ward. You may have seen that most other major cities in the United States have implemented shared streets programs which allows pedestrians more space to socially distance while walking or running.
It's important to know that a shared street does not close the street to local traffic, but does discourage through traffic.
Here's what a shared street does:
- Redirects cars that are using the street as a through street to a major thoroughfare
- Allows pedestrians to walk and run in the streets with very limited car traffic to avoid crowding on sidewalks
- Gives children more space in the street to play
- Eliminate parking for those who live or work on the block
- Prevent those who live on the block from accessing garages or driveways
- Prevent delivery drivers, emergency vehicles, or moves from accessing your block
Ald. Cappleman (46th Ward) says:
"Many of you saw news this week that a number of streets on the north side were being converted into shared streets, where vehicular through access would be restricted to provide greater social distancing for pedestrians and cyclists.
It was reported that Leland between Clark and Sheridan in the 46th Ward would become one of these shared streets.
Unfortunately, a web blog errantly and preemptively posted this information before the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) had finalized their plans.
The portion of Leland in the 46th Ward, from Clark to Sheridan, was never going to be a part of this plan because Leland already has, or will have, significant construction taking place this summer. So, according to CDOT, this portion of Leland is unsafe for promoting a shared streets concept.
For reference, these projects include:
- MCI utility installation,
- resurfacing of the 1200 block of Leland and the 4700 block of Malden,
- water main installation on Racine that will cross Leland, and
- the ongoing building construction at Sheridan and Leland for the new Sarah's Circle facility.
Safe open space is critically important for everybody's mental and physical health during these Stay at Home orders, and that is why we continue to advocate for the Lakefront trails to reopen.
This is a plea my office hears daily from residents, and I agree that the trails should open in a phased and planned way to provide safe, and equitable social distancing for recreation and transportation throughout the city.
Both my office and the Department of Transportation want to hear your feedback and thoughts on transportation and mobility issues during the time of COVID-19, so I strongly encourage you to send your ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact Mayor Lightfoot's office at: email@example.com. And please copy firstname.lastname@example.org on those communications as well."