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