Lengthy travel times and increased alley traffic are some of the concerns Ravenswood Manor neighbors have about a set of traffic diverters taking effect in the neighborhood on Monday.
Traffic diverters will be placed at the intersection of Wilson and Manor, one of the few streets that run north and south through the entire neighborhood from Montrose to Lawrence. The barricades will divert automobile traffic off of Manor and block access to the main road from the east and west.
The diverters are part of a traffic study running through Nov. 19 by the Chicago Department of Transportation. If the test run goes well, they could be incorporated into the Manor Avenue Neighborhood Greenway Project, which seeks to connect Horner Park and the North Shore Channel Trail for pedestrians and cyclists.
Manor Avenue sees a disproportionate amount of traffic compared to other northbound and southbound streets in the area, according to a news release from 33rd Ward Ald. Deb Mell’s office. Mell met with the Transportation Action Committee in 2014 to discuss potential traffic-calming measures.
Steven Vance, a member of the committee since its formation and former 33rd Ward resident, said diverters could help balance traffic throughout the neighborhood.
“The point of the study is to see how well traffic is redistributed among the surrounding streets,” Vance said. “I think it has the possibility to more evenly distribute traffic, and these tests will see if that happens or not.”
But some residents fear that a balance of traffic will not be achieved.
Patrick Duffy, a Ravenswood Manor resident of 11 years, said he worries that the heavy cut-through traffic will reroute elsewhere in the neighborhood to Francisco and Sacramento avenues.
“I fully support the bike line, and it would be nice to have less traffic on Manor, but it’s not realistic to release the traffic from one street and put it on another,” Duffy said.
Duffy added that drivers might use alleys to avoid the traffic diverters, posing risks to pedestrians in the neighborhood.
“Little kids go up and down sidewalks that aren’t used to a significant amount of traffic in the alleys,” Duffy said. “Unless they plan on blocking alleys off, they are in a worse situation than we are in now.”
Colleen Connell, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union and a 31-year Manor resident, said the traffic diverters are an inconvenience to Manor residents.
“For those of us north in the neighborhood, it will cause us to go a lot out of our way when heading south, and for the people on the south end, there will be lots of traffic for them on Francisco,” she said. “It’s a great inconvenience to the longtime residents.”