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Take a Virtual Spin on the Argyle Shared Street, Now Fully Open to Traffic

5:31 PM CDT on August 29, 2016

The Argyle Shared Street, a project to create a safer and more pleasant environment on Chicago’s Southeast Asian shopping and dining strip by blurring the lines between pedestrian and vehicle space, reopened to two-way traffic last week.

The $3 million project involved raising the level of the street, eliminating curbs, and adding decorative pavers with a design that encourages shopper to freely travel across the street. Sidewalks have been widened to accommodate more foot traffic and sidewalk cafes, and the roadway has also become fully wheelchair accessible.

A new ordinance makes it legal to cross the street outside of a crosswalk on the Argyle Shared Street. Photo: John Greenfield

There’s still a bit of paving left to be completed, as well as some finishing touches such as adding landscaping to the infiltration planters and adding decorative covers to the steel-and-concrete bollards that help keep cars off the sidewalks. But last Thursday 48th Ward alderman Harry Osterman held a short parade and ribbon on the street as part of the final Argyle Night Market event.

There's an area at Winthrop Avenue that's still fenced off for paver installation, which creates a bottleneck on the street. These bollards will get more attractive coverings. Photo: John Greenfield

There’s going to be a learning curve as various road users get accustomed to the new street layout. Although the street has been returned to two-way traffic, for the most part I only saw eastbound traffic, and all parked vehicles, on both sides of the street, were facing east. Drivers also seem unsure of what part of the street two park on in some sections of the streetscape, but that confusion will likely be cleared up as more visual cues are added.

Have you checked out the shared street yet? Tell us what you think of it in the comments section.

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