Advocates call for walking and biking improvements on Logan Boulevard

Chicago, Ill: October 30, 2018 — Logan Square community leaders say conditions for people walking and biking on a high-crash stretch of Logan Boulevard must change so residents have safe access to popular local destinations.

The stretch from Rockwell Street to Lathrop Homes includes the notorious Logan Boulevard and Western Avenue intersection under the Kennedy Expressway, where people are asked to cross several lanes of traffic with limited lighting and poorly marked crosswalks.

“Residents use this part of Logan daily to take their kids to school and drop them off at daycare. For far too long it has been a high-stress, terrifying experience to walk, bike and drive on Logan to Lathrop Homes,” said Nancy Aardema, Executive Director of Logan Square Neighborhood Association, which served as the lead local partner. “As the neighborhood’s population rapidly increases, we need active ways of getting around without relying solely on cars to do so.”

The stretch also connects to the historic site of Lathrop Homes, where a new mixed-use development includes a public riverfront park that links to a network of safe biking and walking routes along the Chicago River, such as the 312 RiverRun.

For the last ten months, the Active Transportation Alliance, and project partners, Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Port Urbanism, have worked with community members to identify and advocate for priority biking and walking improvements throughout the corridor. The project is part of Active Trans’ campaign for a continuous Chicago River Trail along all 27 miles of the river from North to South.

Organizers are hosting a rally in support of the changes on October 30 at 3:30 p.m. on the north side of Logan Boulevard’s service drive located west of the skate park.

The new report - “Reimagining Logan Boulevard to Lathrop Homes” – features a variety of recommendations to improve conditions for people biking and walking, including (1) Removing a travel lane on Logan to create more space for people walking and biking (2) Adding protected bike lanes on Logan and the Diversey Avenue Bridge (3) Re-painting and adding crosswalks at the Logan/Western intersection.All recommendations were informed by neighborhood residents and an advisory committee of twenty-organizations.

“The growing network of riverfront trails is only useful if it’s safely and easily accessible to neighborhood residents,” said Ron Burke, executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance, which led the project. “Dedicating more space to people walking and biking while calming car traffic would greatly improve safety for everyone.”

In addition to encouraging more people to bike and walk, Burke said the recommendations will move the corridor closer to the historic aim of Chicago’s Boulevards as beautiful green spaces.

Logan Square organizations see tremendous value in improving this vital neighborhood connection.

“The retail district surrounding Elston Avenue has many local businesses that will benefit tremendously from improved access,” said Jessica Wobbekind, Executive Director of the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce. “Being able to walk and bike safely to these businesses and an eventual Chicago River Trail will strengthen economic development by safely linking retail areas on both ends of Logan Boulevard.”

Elected officials acknowledge that improving Logan Boulevard is smart public policy. "Fostering safer and more inviting pedestrian and bicycle connections between Logan Boulevard and Lathrop Homes carries the potential to generate significant safety and mobility benefits and mitigate rising traffic congestion,” said 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack. “I'm appreciative of all the neighborhood organizations and their representatives that participated in this initiative."

Twenty individuals participated on the project’s advisory committee. Organizations represented include: Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Logan Square Chamber of Commerce, Logan Square Dog Park, Logan Square Preservation, Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, Greater Goethe Neighborhood Association, Friends of the Chicago River, Epstein, Lathrop Homes residents, Brentano School, Friends of Brentano, Patrick Engineering, Coyote Logistics, Krueck and Sexton Architects, Bicentennial Improvements and 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack.

Active Trans and our project partners will continue to advocate for these improvements.

Residents and community groups interested in joining this effort can contact Steve Simmons at steve@activetrans.org or 312-216-0472.

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About the Active Transportation Alliance
The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that advocates for walking, bicycling, and public transit to create healthy, sustainable and equitable communities. The organization works to build a movement around active transportation, encourage physical activity, increase safety and build a world-class transportation network. The Active Transportation Alliance has more than 20,0000 members and supporters in the Chicago region. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit www.activetrans.org or call 312.427.3325.