A Rundown of Improvements Planned for the Milwaukee Avenue Corridor This Summer

The city plans to join this "pork chop" island at the northwest corner of Division/Milwaukee/Ashland to the sidewalk by installing pain and posts, eliminating the slip lane. Photo: CDOT
The city plans to join this "pork chop" island at the northwest corner of Division/Milwaukee/Ashland to the sidewalk by installing pain and posts, eliminating the slip lane. Photo: CDOT

keating

On July 12 the city held the second community meeting on planned changes to the Milwaukee Avenue corridor between Division and Western in Wicker Park/Bucktown, but it wasn’t crystal clear from the presentation exactly which “near-term” improvements are slated for construction this summer. Chicago Department of Transportation planner Mike Amsden recently provided more info on the pedestrian- and bike-friendly tweaks they hope to make in the coming months. Here’s a recap with before-and-after renderings for your convenience.

Along the entire corridor: The posted speed limit will be lowered from 25 to 20 mph. CTA bus stops will be “optimized” with stops relocated and consolidated.

Bus stops on Milwaukee between Division and Western will be relocated and consolidated. Image: CDOT
Bus stops on Milwaukee between Division and Western will be relocated and consolidated. Image: CDOT

Division/Ashland/Milwaukee: The “pork chop” island at the northwest corner of the intersection (see photo at the top of this post) will be connected to the sidewalk through the installation of flexible posts and tan-colored street paint, eliminating the slip lane. Right turns from southbound Ashland onto Milwaukee will be banned. The taxi stand on the east side of Polish Triangle (the small plaza in the center of the intersection, which features the Nelson Algren Fountain) will be moved to the west side of Ashland and replaced with a bus lane.

Division
Images: CDOT

Milwaukee and Honore: Bumpouts will be added to shorten crossing distances and deter illegal parking on the west side of Milwaukee, which currently often results in crosswalk blockage.

Image: CDOT
Images: CDOT

North/Damen/Milwaukee: The slip lane at the southeast corner of the intersection will be closed with paint and posts, and additional bumpouts will be added to the southeast and north legs of the six-way junction. Four green bike boxes will be installed on Milwaukee and Damen (North isn’t a recommended route on the city’s bike map.) The right-turn lane for on southbound Damen will be removed. While wider, zebra-striped crosswalks will be installed, the two new crossings shown on the rendering won’t be installed this year. “[These] require traffic signal modifications which requires a longer lead time,” Amsden explained.

Image: CDOT
Images: CDOT

Wabansia and Milwaukee: Bumpouts will be added to straighten skewed intersections. Parking spaces will be removed (demand isn’t particularly high on this stretch) to make room for non-buffered bike lanes.

Image: CDOT
Images: CDOT

The Bloomingdale Trail and Milwaukee: Bike boxes and a bicycle left-turn lane will be added to facilitate movements to and from the trail’s access ramps. A bumpout will be added at the crosswalk by Park 567, the green space with a council ring on the east side of Milwaukee, at the foot of the trail.

Images: CDOT
Images: CDOT

While we won’t be getting everything we wished for this year, these changes should go a long way to make the Milwaukee corridor safer for all users, and a lot more pleasant for walking and biking. Hopefully CDOT will install the additional crosswalks at North/Damen/Milwaukee next year, and perhaps in the not-too-distant future there will be support for stripping more parking to make room for bike lanes along the entire length of Milwaukee in Wicker Park/Bucktown.

This post is made possible by a grant from the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers at Keating Law Offices, P.C., a Chicago, Illinois law firm committed to representing pedestrians and cyclists. The content is Streetsblog Chicago’s own, and Keating Law Offices neither endorses the content nor exercises any editorial control.

  • rwy

    It looks like this project includes quite a few bumpouts. Is it possible to design those so that they don’t squeeze cars and bicycles into a narrow space?

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Presumably these bumpouts won’t take up any more road width than a parked car. I’m guessing the bottlenecks for cyclists that you’re thinking of are at Clark/Berteau and Elston/Grace, where there are pedestrian islands in the center of the street, and this project doesn’t include any of those.

  • rwy

    I’m thinking of some streets closer to me in Evanston. While the bumpouts aren’t the sole reason the streets aren’t friendly to cyclists, they don’t help. And unlike a parked car, these are always there.

    I’m looking at the proposal for the intersection of Milwaukee/Honore, and it does look like a bike unfriendly bottleneck. Is there a better way to do this?

  • ZeroVisionPhila

    This is one of the worst Streets during my visit the traffic is near a standstill during the day. But at night it does move a little better but if I come back there again I still will drive my 35MPH at night because making a bicycle Speed Limits only become suggestion to me or the locals that will be stuck. To live by a street that will Only get be worse to drive.

  • rduke

    U ok?

  • rduke

    Bikes should be taking the full lane in this stretch anyways.

  • rwy

    If taking a lane in necessary, then something is wrong with the design of the road.

  • solostyle

    This is so excellent. I can’t wait!!