East Section of Argyle Opens to Car Traffic, West Stretch Getting Pavers

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Although Argyle is two-way once again, all the parked cars were still facing east this afternoon. Photo: John Greenfield

The eastern section of the Argyle “Shared Street” project is largely completed and was re-opened to two-way car traffic and parking last Friday, giving us our first glimpse of how the street will function once the streetscape is completed. Meanwhile, the western stretch of Argyle, between Broadway and the Argyle Red Line stop, has been closed to traffic while workers install pavers in the roadway. It’s slated to reopen this weekend.

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Rendering of the finished Shared Street. Image: CDOT

Last month City Council City Council passed an ordinance that designates the three-block-long stretch of Argyle between Broadway and Sheridan Road a Shared Street, where the line between space for vehicles and pedestrians is blurred. Argyle is the city’s Southeast Asian dining and shopping district.

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Looking east on the newly paved section just east of Broadway, which is currently closed to car traffic. Photo: John Greenfield

The project, which involves raising the level of the street, eliminating curbs, and adding decorative pavers with a design that encourages shopper to freely travel across the street. The ordinance states that pedestrians have the right of way over all other traffic on the street. Sidewalks are being widened to accommodate more foot traffic and sidewalk cafes, and the roadway will also become fully wheelchair accessible.

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Looking west from the Argyle CTA stop. Workers are wrapping up the installation of pavers on the western portion of the streetscape. Photo: John Greenfield

The eastern portion of the streetscape is complete, except for landscaping and a few other “finishing touches” according an email to constituents from local alderman Harry Osterman. Presumably there will eventually be more visual cues to tell drivers where to park. Right now it’s a little unclear, so some drivers are parking half in the roadway and half in the parking lane. Interestingly, although the street is once again two-way (it was one-way eastbound during an earlier phase of construction), all the parked cars I saw today were facing east.

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Drivers weren’t sure which side of the gutter to park on. Photo: John Greenfield

A great opportunity to check out the fully opened Shared Street will be the next Lawrence Jaunt bike ride on Saturday, August 20. The free ride meets up between 10:45 and 11:15 a.m. at Uptown Bikes’ pop-up shop at 1124 West Argyle, and riders are encourage to grab breakfast treats from nearby eateries such as Miss Saigon, which is offering a 15-percent discount on Vietnamese iced coffee.

At 11:30 the ride departs for a 2.5-mile trip down Lawrence Avenue to Albany Park’s Bikes N’ Roses community bike shop, 4747 North Sawyer, which will be offering valet parking. The ride is free, but helmets are required. From there you can check out the nearby Albany Park World Fest, featuring international music, food, art, and carnival rides.

  • Walked it last night. It is well done. The artist drawing at top is misleading. It suggests a randomness in the color schemes for the blocks. It has also placed the concrete shallow v shaped gutter wrongly. Instead the color schemes are carefully thought out.

    A dark narrow strip separates the classic sidewalk from all other usages. The classic sidewalk has its own color of block. The car driving area has its own lightest colored block. An intermediate color block demarks areas that could be walking or parking areas. A concrete shallow “v” gutter sometimes is between the driving blocks and the parking blocks (see the last picture above) but is also sometimes between the walking blocks and the parking blocks or driving blocks.

    The placement of the “gutter” creates an ambiguity of whether the parking blocks are for parking or walking. That ambiguity creates caution in the minds of most drivers.

    With lots of bollards or planting areas with full curbs there is a lot of pedestrian protection. I was there during the night market and the western end was still under construction so I was quite comfortable wandering down the middle of the street. Walking across the street mid-block remains to be experienced in full blown traffic conditions.

  • ChicagoCyclist

    Nice, big trees are crucial — shade, beauty, place- and space-defining, cooling, etc. etc.

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