The Broadway/Lawrence Streetscape Has Turned Asphalt Into Public Space
A project that’s a good example of the city repurposing car space to create more public space is coming along nicely in Uptown. The first phase of the $6 million Broadway/Lawrence streetscape project, which started construction in summer 2017, is expected to wrap up this summer.
The project included pedestrianizing a stretch of Racine just south of Lawrence, in front of the Riviera Theater and the Golden House diner, which connected a traffic island to the sidewalk to create a new plaza.
This has provided more room for the crowds that gather outside the music venue, and a pedestal has been built for a yet-to-be-installed multicolored ring-shaped public art piece, representing cultural diversity as well as neighborhood unity. Plenty of bike racks have also been added to accommodate concertgoers, and a new pedestrian island has also been added on Broadway south of the plaza.
Phase One of the streetscape project involves Broadway between Leland and Gunnison Street, and Lawrence between Broadway and the local Red Line station. In addition to the plaza it includes new sidewalks, lighting, red stamped crosswalks, and concrete planters that say “Uptown” in an Art Deco-inspired font.
Phase Two of the project, which includes similar improvements on Broadway from Wilson, is also taking place this year. The upgrades will make this stretch, which was brightened significantly by the relocation of ‘L’ tracks during the Wilson station reconstruction, even more appealing for pedestrians, when it was formerly a rather gloomy space.
Speaking of turning car space into people space in Uptown, two block north of Lawrence at Broadway and Argyle, the Vietnamese-style sub shop Ba Le Sandwiches recently tuned part of their parking lot into an outdoor seating area by fencing it off with plastic posts, adding some planters, and stringing lights across the space.
This post is made possible by a grant from Freeman Kevenides, a Chicago, Illinois personal injury law firm representing and advocating for bicyclists, pedestrians and vulnerable road users. The content belongs to Streetsblog Chicago, and Freeman Kevenides Law Firm neither endorses nor exercises editorial control over the content.