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