Mariano’s Contractor Builds Temporary Walkway For Metra Commuters

Walking east in the temporary walkway.
Walking east in the temporary walkway. Photo: Michael Hurley

After Streetsblog reported on Leopardo Construction’s poor pedestrian accommodations during construction on Lawrence Avenue next to the Ravenswood station, where the contractor is building a Mariano’s grocery store, a company representative wrote to say that building a temporary walkway in the road wasn’t feasible. Soon after, however, a temporary walkway was added.

Leopardo safety director Jim McInerney commented on Friday’s post, saying that the temporary sidewalk closure was done in full compliance with CDOT, the Department of Streets & Sanitation, and the local alderman’s office. But full compliance doesn’t mean it’s a good solution for a pedestrian-heavy area outside of downtown, where parking and travel lanes are frequently converted to temporary pedestrian walkways during sidewalk closures. McInerney incorrectly claimed that there is a bike lane on Lawrence and said “there isn’t enough room… to create a pedestrian bridge on that side of the street during construction.”

On Saturday morning, however, Michael Hurley, a Lincoln Square reader, tweeted a photo of the new temporary walkway on Lawrence Avenue, in exactly the place where I recorded more than 90 Metra passengers walking in the roadway after disembarking from a train during the evening rush.

Barriers were installed by Saturday afternoon. Photo: Michael Hurley
  • duppie

    I did see that this morning. That is great news.

    Thanks to Leopardo and Alderman Pawar’s office (who was involved in this as far as I understand) for providing a safe (temporary) walkway for pedestrians. Steven, thanks for creating a voice for the communities’ concerns.

    To posters that complained in the original post that pedestrians are a bunch of scofflaws who do whatever they want, and therefore are not deserving of safe sidewalks:
    You provide all road users with good (temporary) infrastructure and they will likely follow it. We saw it in the Dearborn bike lane (with significantly reduced red light running), and we see it again here. Compliance was 100% , i.e, I did not see a single ped in the roadway.

  • More to the point, all study of desire paths (people walking places that are convenient instead of the officially-designated paths) shows that for each situation there is an amount of deflection/inconvenience they’re willing to put up with, but after going where they are ‘supposed’ to becomes TOO inconvenient, the new desire path becomes primary for usage.

    This was obvious all over UIC campus in the 1990s: they had rectilinear concrete walkways surrounding enormous blank lawns, but very few diagonals — so if you needed to get from a class in Building A to one in Building B in the very limited time the schedule allowed, you booked it diagonally across the pristine expanse of lawn hypoteneuse instead of walking laboriously along the concrete outside edges. Every year they’d seed and sod it, and every spring it’d be pounded to dirt on very clear most-efficient-path options as a new semester’s students decided it wasn’t worth their time to obey a minor suggested rule. Finally in the campus redesign (that finally eradicated the last of the choices that were put into play for the no-longer-there-by-the-90s overhead walkways), a lot more diagonal concrete paths were put in and now they don’t have to spend nearly as much on their annual resodding budget.

    Clearly the Metra commuters at the Lawrence stop found it ridiculously onerous to walk back east to the intersection and wait for three light cycles before continuing again westward on their commute; this new regularization of their desire path makes their logical choice no longer illicit.

  • Kip Dieden

    If you look at the current manual that contractors in the city have to follow the text is written as “Traffic movement should be inhibited as little as possible” (http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdot/provdrs/construction_information/svcs/view_constructionstandards.html). The new draft that you mentioned in an earlier post is written as “The TCP and Detour Plan shall provide safe accommodation of pedestrians/bicyclists through the work zone.” I’d be interested to see when the new draft becomes final.

  • JZ

    And where’s the safe passage for cyclists? Or do we need to squeeze into the car lanes and receive the misplaced rage of drivers?

  • Huzzah to the contractor and huzzah to the squeaky wheel!

  • Alex_H

    My impulse would probably be to take the lane?

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