Once Again, the Construction of a Mariano’s Creates a Hazard for Pedestrians

People walking in the road on Broadway
People walking the street on Broadway past a sidewalk closed for the construction for the parking-rich Mariano’s development. Photo: J. Patrick Lynch

Broadway is a city-designated Pedestrian Street between Diversey and Cornelia in Lakeview. But during the construction of a new car-centric development, people on foot are encountering a decidedly pedestrian-unfriendly situation.

A massive new complex featuring a Mariano’s grocery store and an XSport Fitness gym, plus 279 car parking spaces, is currently being built at 3030 N. Broadway. For the past several weeks, the sidewalk on the west side of Broadway has been closed to accommodate the construction.

Streetsblog Chicago reader J. Patrick Lynch sent us photos of the situation, which is all-too-common in Chicago. Since the sidewalk closure signs are located mid-block, people who encounter them are supposed to backtrack half a block to the crosswalk in order to detour to the east sidewalk. Lynch tells us that many people simply opt to walk in the street.

Sidewalk closed outside Lakeview Mariano's under construction
A sidewalk closed sign instructs people to retreat to the crosswalk behind them and cross to the east side of Broadway in order to continue north. Photo: J. Patrick Lynch

Moreover, there’s plenty of room to provide proper pedestrian accommodations during construction. While curbside parking has mostly been left in place next to the work site, the contractor, Leopardo, and the Chicago Department of Transportation could have barricaded the parking lane to create temporary walkway. Lynch also noted that while this is a 24/7 sidewalk closure and on weekends, construction truck traffic – likely the main reason for the sidewalk closure – only occurs during weekday business hours.

This situation is particularly troubling because there was a similar scenario two winters ago when Leopardo built a Mariano’s on Lawrence Avenue, next to the Ravenswood Metra station. In that case, they also closed the sidewalk next to the work site, which resulted in hundreds of disembarking train commuters walking in the street. After Streetsblog posted a video highlighting this dangerous situation, Leopardo finally used barricades to create a temporary pedestrian route in the roadway.

In August, Leopardo boasted that the Broadway site would be one of Chicago’s first clean-diesel construction projects, which would mitigate its effect on air quality. But if they really care about the health and safety of residents, they’ll do the right thing by setting up a protected walkway in the street, instead of forcing pedestrians to share the road with cars.

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  • Pat

    John,

    I just want to point out to the readers that what looks like sidewalk space (albeit narrow) in the 2nd picture is actually blocked off by full sidewalk width fence just beyond the 4th orange barrier. Most likely this space was designed only to allow people to get out of their cars on the curb.

  • Yesterday you reported that Ald. Tunney convinced council to ban food carts in parts of his ward because they create obstacles for pedestrians. Looks like he needs to walk the walk and crack down on this too – far from the first time construction in his ward has blocked an entire sidewalk.

  • That sounds reasonable. It’s clearly not wide enough to function as a “sidewalk”.

  • Pat

    Sorry I called you John.

  • Mike Raffety

    Closing a public street sidewalk for construction is not at
    all unusual for big projects, it gives them an extra 10 feet or more to
    stage equipment and work on the building when it’s going to be right up
    against the sidewalk.

    Sometimes, they take the parking lane too, either for construction,
    or to create a pedestrian path. It’s unfortunate they didn’t ban
    parking and allow a pedestrian path there, but it’s only a two-lane
    street (with fairly slow traffic), I think people can safely cross the
    street and back again for a few months.

  • neroden

    I’d suggest a sign about three times that large if you want people to notice it.

  • Pat

    Why didn’t you buy out the parking that is allowed at that location and provide a pedestrian path?

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