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Chicago’s newest Slow Street is a 0.6-mile loop in South Shore

The South Shore Slow Street loop. Photo: CDOT

Chicago was late to the party when it comes to the national Slow Streets movement, in which cities have been banning through traffic on side streets to create safe routes for socially-distanced car-free transportation and recreation.

But ever since the Leland Avenue Slow Street opened on May 29 between Clark Street and Lincoln Avenue, the Chicago Department of Transportation has been gradually expanding the network. In recent weeks the Department has set up Slow Streets (they're calling them "Shared Streets") parallel to the then-closed Bloomingdale Trail and on Drexel Boulevard on between Oakwood and 51st Street, as well as extending the Leland corridor west a half-mile to the river. And last week 35th Ward alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa said there's "overwhelming" support for creating a Slow Street on Palmer Street between Hanson Park and Palmer Square, so it's likely that will happen by early July.

Today CDOT installed the newest Slow Streets, a 0.6-mile loop on 68th Street, Kenwood Avenue, 70th Street, and Dorchester, just east of Oak Woods Cemetery in South Shore.

Notably, this project was signed off by 5th Ward alderman Leslie Hairston -- it's great to see her supporting a sustainable transportation and traffic safety initiative. Granted, this short loop isn't particularly useful for commuting, but it's perfect for local residents who'd like to get physical activity by walking or jogging laps, and a good set-up for children and families to go on bike rides.

Screen Shot 2020-06-26 at 6.42.50 PM
The new South Shore loop. Image: Google Maps
The new South Shore loop. Image: Google Maps

CDOT spokesman mike Claffey said the loop was created in response to community input the department received and with support from Hairston. "There is a community garden in the area and also a school. So we thought it would be interesting and worthwhile to test out this [Slow] Street on a loop concept.

The South Shore Slow Street loop. Photo: CDOT
The South Shore Slow Street loop. Photo: CDOT
The South Shore Slow Street loop. Photo: CDOT

Claffey added that the department is eager to get feedback from Slow Street users and other residents so it can try out more ideas like this one. You can fill out a survey to provide input on CDOT pandemic-related transportation initiatives here.

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