Today was the first of two project expos for the participatory budgeting process in Chicago’s 46th Ward. Four of the City’s Wards are participating this year.
Turnout was good for a Saturday morning. There will be another expo at Preston Bradley Center (941 W Lawrence) this Monday, April 8, from 6–8 PM. Please join us! The expo starts with an overview of the process, followed by explanations of the projects. After the short presentation, community representatives such as myself and several others are available to discuss the specifics of our proposals.
Below, I will post the 5 project expo posters for the Streets & Cycling Committee (click on each one for a higher-quality PDF). There are 3 other committees in the 46th Ward – Beautification, Safety, and Arts. We all have excellent proposals for making the entire Ward a better place to be. Big thanks to Eric Hanss for putting together the posters in a uniform, easy-to-understand manner.
Bike Infrastructure Improvements: This project is composed of several different projects that all deal with bike infrastructure. Currently, a protected bike lane is already planned on Broadway between Leland and Montrose. This section of Broadway is currently two traffic lanes in each direction with parking on both sides. There is not often much traffic, so removing driving lanes should not jam the roadway. We have two proposals to extend this protected lane north to the Ward boundary at Ainslie, and another proposal to extend bike infrastructure south on Broadway to Wrigleyville.
Wilson Ave also has existing marked shared lanes (sharrows) but many of them are worn out or have been paved over. Our proposal is to re-paint these markings. We also proposed building bike lanes along Winthrop and Kenmore, which connect to great bike lanes on calmer residential streets in Edgewater, and would bring these lanes south into the 46th Ward.
Finally, two of the proposals are combined with two other projects proposed by members of the Streets & Cycling committee (see below).
For the bike infrastructure proposals, we put up pieces of paper and gave expo visitors stickers to informally vote on their top 3 proposals (someone called this “dot-mocracy”). This is not the same as voting on the proposals, which will take place later this month. We want to see which proposals will end up on the final ballot (an infrastructure primary, if you will).
Leland Greenway: Covered in a recent Streetsblog Chicago post, this project focuses on Leland Avenue in the Ward, a residential street that continues west into the 47th Ward and also goes near to the lake. The proposal is to create chicanes along the route to slow traffic, since much of Leland does not have any traffic calming (just easily ignored stop signs). Curb bumpouts with stormwater retention as well as bike signage on the street would make Leland into a great route for the Ward and also for 47th Ward residents, since Alderman Pawar has expressed interest in creating a neighborhood greenway along Leland that could meet the 46th Ward at Clark St. This would create a very long neighborhood greenway from Western Avenue to the lake, and a great alternative to using busy Montrose or Lawrence to move east-west across the area. Western Avenue is also just a few blocks from the North Shore Channel Trail.
Clarendon Corridor: This project is a series of improvements to Clarendon that make the street safer for all users. As the project poster states, many parts of the street are damaged and dangerous. Many street intersections do not have crosswalks where they belong. A big improvement would be the intersection of Clarendon and Broadway. There is currently a channelized right turn and the intersection is too large. The proposal is to reconfigure the intersection, eliminate the channelized right turn, and reduce crossing distance.
Walkable 46th: A series of improvements to walking all across the Ward. Like with the Clarendon corridor, there are too many places where crosswalks are non-existent, like along Lawrence Ave (where the #81 bus route runs). Some of these intersections could be signalized. Some bus shelters are not ADA compliant, surprisingly, one adjacent to a hospital. And some crosswalks need to be repainted, especially along Wilson. The Chicago Crash Browser was used to find and display problem locations in the Ward.
Ready to Vote?
Voting will take place at the Ward office (4544 N Broadway; Wilson Red line stop, #36 & 78 bus routes) from April 27th to May 5th during regular office hours. There will also be a voting day on a weekend at Uplift Community High School from 10-2 (stay tuned for confirmed date).
For all of the Participatory Budgeting votes in Chicago, you do not need to be a US citizen to vote. You must only prove that you are 16 years old and live in the Ward (state-issued ID, energy bill, lease with name on it, etc).
And, if you have not stopped by a project expo yet, please do so this Monday at Preston Bradley Center from 6–8 PM! Let’s make the 46th Ward a great place to be!