Last year in the thick over the COVID-19 pandemic, many Chicagoans wanted safe routes for transportation and recreation that would provide sufficient space for social distancing. In response, the Chicago Department of Transportation responded by rolling out traffic-calmed Slow Streets treatments (the city calls them "Shared Streets") on many roadways across the city. Several of these proved very popular, especially with families, youth, and seniors, who enjoyed having plenty of room to stroll, jog, scoot, and bike in the roadway, without having to worry about crowding or high-speed motor vehicles.
Thankfully, nowadays space for social distancing is not such an urgent need. But many residents appreciated the Slow Streets, so CDOT has brought back some of them, and is piloting a couple new ones. Here are the current corridors.
I swung by the Seminary Avenue this afternoon around 5 p.m. Seminary was already a nice low-stress bike route northbound from Diversey Avenue to Wrigley Field. But the addition of barriers and traffic barrels discourages drivers from using the street as a cut-through, making the corridor quieter than ever. This stretch passes by Hawthorne Scholastic Academy, where there are soccer fields and a playlot, so the Slow Street makes it safer to access those amenities.
Have you checked out the Seminary Slow Street? If so, how do you think it's working out?
In addition to editing Streetsblog Chicago, John writes about transportation and other topics for additional local publications. A Chicagoan since 1989, he enjoys exploring the city on foot, bike, bus, and 'L' train.