Eyes on the Street: Unwalkable Kinzie Sidewalk Finally Replaced

kinzie-clark old and new side by side

Steps on both sides of the corner were replaced with nearly flat ramps. Photos: Steven Vance

The steps, broken pavement, and roller coaster ramps at the southwest corner of Kinzie Street and Clark Street were all repaired recently. The construction was originally supposed to wrap up by spring 2013, but didn’t finish until December. The six-month long construction was unusually complex, according to 42nd Ward Alderman Reilly’s newsletter.

Because of the height of the hidden vault under the sidewalk, instead of a smooth transition from the sidewalk to the street, pedestrians had to navigate a complex set of old and deteriorated steps. The steps that were demolished to install an ADA ramp were most likely the original steps that were created when the building at 350 N. Clark St. was built in 1912. This project was further complicated because a ComEd electrical supply line was located underneath the sidewalk.

Kinzie/Clark sidewalk construction

The staircase and ADA-compliant ramp replace the previous crumbling, roller coaster sidewalk. Photo: Steven Vance

Given this situation, it was easier to raise the roadway to meet the sidewalk. The hundreds of people who, over many years, called and sent letters to the alderman’s office – not to mention the thousands who use it each day – will be happy with the smooth transition from crosswalk to sidewalk, and the elimination of the steep, up-down ramp next to the parking garage driveway.

Roller coaster sidewalk on Kinzie Street

Gone are the roller coaster inclines on the Kinzie Street sidewalk. Image: Google Street View