The neighborhood greenway movement in Chicago is picking up steam.
The latest proposal for modifying a street so it’s safer for people walking and biking is targeted for the Ravenswood Manor neighborhood on Manor St. between Montrose Ave. and Lawrence Ave.
This is great news for the people biking and walking who use this half-mile stretch of Manor to access several parks along the route, the Francisco Brown Line L station and countless destinations to the north and south.
The proposal for the Manor greenway includes:
- Numerous curb bumpouts that will slow traffic and shorten the crossing distance between corners for people walking.
- Pedestrian refuge islands in the street on Montrose and on Lawrence that will make it easier to cross these busy streets to access the greenway.
- A raised crosswalk on the south end of Manor to slow traffic and signal entry into the greenway.
- Traffic diverters at the corner of Manor and Wilson that will curtail the sometimes heavy cut-through traffic the street currently suffers from.
At a public meeting last week attended by some 75 residents, the Chicago Department of Transportation unveiled its preliminary plan for the greenway. When constructed, this would be the third greenway in the city, and the most robust version of a neighborhood greenway so far on Chicago streets.
Overall audience reaction was enthusiastic about the project. CDOT staff explained that they have been working closely with 33rd Ward Alderman Deb Mell and the ward's Transportation Action Committee for a couple of years on the design and outreach for the project, which could begin construction next year.
Most of the questions at the meeting addressed the possible need for doing additional traffic calming measures on a few neighboring streets that might see an uptick in traffic as a result of the project.
The traffic diverter — which will prevent northbound and southbound traffic from entering Manor at Wilson — will be installed on a pilot basis later this year. CDOT said the pilot will allow them to study traffic patterns that change as a result of the greenway.
Manor is a perfect location for a neighborhood greenway because it currently draws great numbers of people biking and walking. According to CDOT, 15-20 percent of people using the street are biking (average citywide is 1.5 percent) and 25-30 percent of people using the street are walking.
And the numbers of people biking and walking on the street are likely to soar upwards once the Riverview Bridge is built that connects Clark Park and California Park to the south, as well the construction of a trail connection to the south under Irving Park Rd. Once complete, the Manor greenway will connect these new trail sections to the rest of the River Trail that heads north from Lawrence.
And from a larger perspective, this is another important piece of the puzzle in creating a continuous Chicago River Trail that spans both the north and south sides of the city — a goal that Active Trans proposed in our Bikeways for All report presented last year.
Let Ald. Mell and CDOT know that you support this project by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.