Eyes on the street: A bounty of paint-and-post bump-outs and ped islands in the CBD

A paint-and-post pedestrian island in the east leg of Washington/LaSalle, by City Hall. Photo: CDOT
A paint-and-post pedestrian island in the east leg of Washington/LaSalle, by City Hall. Photo: CDOT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Chicago has been slower than many peer cities to reallocate road space for safer and more efficient walking, biking, and transit. But the Chicago Department of Transportation is starting to make up for lost time by doing fast-and-cheap pedestrian improvements at two dozen downtown intersections.

A new bump-out on the north leg of Washington/Wells. Photo: CDOT
A new bump-out on the north leg of Washington/Wells. Photo: CDOT

For the past several years CDOT has experimented with inexpensive paint-and-post pedestrian upgrades in neighborhoods like Wicker Park, Logan Square, Andersonville, and Austin. The most common feature has been sidewalk bump-outs to shorten pedestrian crossing distances, and widening the turning radii of intersections to discourage drivers from whipping around them at dangerous speeds.

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Pedestrian island and bump-out on the east leg of Randolph/Clark, by the Thompson Center. Photo: CDOT

In addition to bump-outs and pedestrian islands, which have been mostly concentrated along Randolph, Washington, and Adams streets and Wabash Avenue in the Loop, the department striped criss-cross “Don’t Block the Box” markings and signs at 11 downtown intersections to encourage drivers to avoid gridlocking the junction. Crosswalks have also been widened at many of these these locations.

Map of the new bump-out and pedestrian island locations. There's also an installation at Delaware/Michigan on the Mag Mile. Image: CDOT
Map of the new bump-out and pedestrian island locations. There’s also an installation at Delaware/Michigan on the Mag Mile. Image: CDOT

Have you walked around the Central Business District lately? If so, let us know what you think in the comments.

Below are the locations of the new and upcoming bump-outs and Don’t Block the Box markings.

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