Slow Street seminar deleted, petition launched to restore it


Update 10/08/21, 4:20 p.m .: According to Streetsblog reader Steven Lucy, South Shore Drive Slow Street has also been dismantled.

Chicago’s slow-moving streets – quiet side streets where through traffic is prohibited for safe waking, jogging and biking – were supposed to be in effect until the end of November. But in early September, the Chicago Department of Transportation removed barricades and traffic barrels on Leland Avenue in Uptown, Ravenswood and Lincoln Square over complaints that the layout was too confusing for drivers. This despite the fact that the treatment, called a ‘shared street’ by the city, was a quantitative success, with the number of CDOTs showing that cycling has increased by 85% in the corridor, according to local alderman Matt Martin (47th). .

This week, Jeremy Frisch, reader of Streetsblog, alerted us that Seminary Avenue Slow Street, set up on July 14 between Belmont Avenue and Eddy Street in Lakeview, has come to an equally premature end. His tweet includes a short video edit that contrasts footage of people walking and biking the slow street with a driver driving down the side street now that traffic calming devices are gone.

So why was the seminar canceled early? “These shared streets are being installed at the request of the community – and in this case we had a request to remove this from the [44th] neighborhood office, ”said CDOT spokesperson Mike Claffey. “They have indicated that they have communications with neighbors in the area and that the consensus is that they want it deleted for the season right now.”

The Slow Street Seminar.  Photo: John Greenfield
The Slow Street Seminar. Photo: John Greenfield

Claffey previously said the remaining slow streets on South Shore Drive, Dante Avenue / 77th Street, and the Logan and Kedzie Boulevard feeder services are expected to be in place until the end of November.

44th Ward Infrastructure Director Tom Tunney Dan Manoli provided more details. “The comments we received from residents on this post-installation seminar block were overwhelmingly against,” he said via email. “Our office received a wide range of complaints: barricades made navigation and / or parking difficult and dangerous, barricades were constantly damaged or moved elsewhere (on the street or other parts of the neighborhood), barricades l ‘made it more difficult to provide city services, and they also created several problems for the adjacent CPS school. We also did not see an increase in the number of pedestrians or cyclists using the street after the slow installation of the street. Unlike Alderman Martin, Manoli did not provide an actual bicycle traffic count.

The Slow Street Seminar.  Photo: Jérémy Frisch
The Slow Street Seminar. Photo: Jérémy Frisch

“We agree that slowing traffic on the streets and making the roads safer for all users is and should be a priority,” added Manoli. “Our office will continue to work with the community and the Chicago Department of Transportation to find better ways to achieve these goals.”

Jeremy Frisch is not satisfied with this explanation. “Alderman Tunney’s office said they only asked the people living in the seminary for advice and it was ‘not in favor’ so they took it off,” he wrote. “All of the reasons provided were related to whether drivers are breaking the law or being embarrassed: cars double park during drop-off / pick-up from school, barrels get run over and” more danger for cars from bypass the barrels “(that is, the whole problem). “

Fisch has started a petition to bring back Slow Street Seminar, and a few dozen residents emailed Tunney, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi asking them to restore security treatment until November, then work with the community. to find a permanent solution to reduce traffic on the corridor. “Unless we demonstrate to our leaders that the community prioritizes safe streets over driver convenience, this could be the final year of Shared Streets in Chicago,” Fisch wrote.

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