Before-and-After GIFs of Projects That Made Chicago Streets More Livable

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Last year, Streetsblog USA’s Angie Schmitt demonstrated how a new feature of Google Street View can be used to highlight street remix projects that have made cities more livable. Google now lets you look at archived Street View images, so it’s easy to compare what streets looked like before and after they were reconfigured.

I tried my hand at animating images of a few forward-thinking Chicago projects that have helped make streets safer and more pleasant places to travel and spend time. Above is the Lawrence Avenue road diet in Ravenswood, a four-to-three conversion which added wider sidewalks, curb bump-outs, pedestrian islands, and bike lanes.

Below is the Lincoln Hub placemaking project in Lakeview, which uses flexible posts and paint dots to shorten crossing distances, eliminate dangerous slip lanes, and create curb extensions that double as seating areas.

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The Roosevelt Road raised bike lane project in the South Loop repurposed road lanes to make room for much wider sidewalks, plus the bikeway, parking racks, new trees, and benches. The bike lanes will get green paint and bike symbols soon.

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This spring, the Chicago Department of Transportation built the city’s first curb-protected bike lanes on Sacramento Boulevard in Douglas Park. Eliminating the excess travel lanes has helped calm traffic.

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By eliminating a small stretch of Woodard Street, the city attached a large traffic island to the sidewalk, creating Woodard Plaza, with new green space and a small amphitheater.

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Other local street remixes I considered creating GIFs for included the Dearborn two-way protected bike lanes, the Clybourn curb-protected bike lanes, and the the Loop Link bus rapid transit corridor. Did I forget any other key reconfigurations? Let us know in the comments section, and we may feature these in a future post.

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