IDOT Announces $20M in Pedestrian and Bike Improvements for Chicagoland

Devon Avenue streetscape improvements

Proposed Devon Avenue streetscape improvements include neighborhood-specific pavement markings, new social spaces and seating, and with shorter crosswalks at some intersections.

The Illinois Department of Transportation announced last week [PDF] that it is distributing over $20 million in Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program funds to bicycle and pedestrian projects in the Chicagoland area. Highlights for Chicago include:

  • A streetscape project on Devon Avenue that will improve the pedestrian environment for two blocks between California Avenue and Rockwell Street. This segment is part of a larger project to improve the streetscape from Kedzie Avenue to Leavitt Street (East of Leavitt, Devon has already received a streetscape overhaul). The project will widen sidewalks, build curb extensions to reducing crossing distances for pedestrians, and add seating, lighting, and trees. Download the proposal.
  • A new streetscape on Blue Island Avenue for the two blocks between 19th and 21st Street. This is a depressed-looking part of Pilsen and part of Blue Island Avenue commercial corridor. It has a very wide roadway, with much more aspalt than the current volume of traffic requires. We are awaiting a response from Alderman Danny Solis’s office about details of the proposed changes.

Also of note are two projects for inner suburbs:

  • The Cal-Sag Trail. After years of fundraising and intense community and legislator support, the Cal-Sag Trail will begin construction this year, with three segments being funded. Friends of the Cal-Sag Trail reports that bidding will begin this spring. The Forest Preserve District of Cook County is the recipient.
  • A bike-pedestrian bridge over the Chicago River at Lincoln and Hood Avenues. The lack of a bridge complicates navigating the North Shore Channel Trail, requiring runners and riders to get off, cross the river via Lincoln Avenue, and then get back on. CDOT has had funding and a design since 2006, but former Alderman Berny Stone blocked it. The project had to be redesigned because a canoe launch has since been built near the site. “Once CDOT finishes a preliminary design, there will be a public meeting to discuss the proposal,” CDOT spokesperson Pete Scales told us last September.

View the full list of projects.

Cal-Sag Trail Ride

Cal-Sag Trail supporters at the end of a ride along the proposed trail alignment. Photo by Cal-Sag Cycles.