“Boulevard” or Highway? Last of 3 public meetings on North Lake Shore Drive is Tonight
How would you improve the lakefront, from Grand to Hollywood and from Lake Michigan’s edge to inner Lake Shore Drive?
Amid a cry to return North LSD to more of a “boulevard,” with a 35 mph speed limit, the last of three public meetings on redefining North Lake Shore Drive and surrounding areas will be held tonight (Thursday night) from 6 pm to 8 pm. The location is the South Gallery of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2340 N. Cannon Drive. Free parking is available on Cannon and Stockton Drive.
During the first hearing, on Tuesday night, participants used everything from post-it notes to letters tossed into a suggestion box to recommend everything from extending LSD all the way to Evanston to creating separate paths for bikers vs walkers. At least one visitor urged that light-rail be brought to the area.
See the Chicago Sun-Times story on Tuesday night’s event here: http://bit.ly/13k1XH1
A coalition of 15 civic groups has recommended reducing the drive to 35 mph to maintain its original vision as a “boulevard;” turning some LSD lanes into bus-only lanes for bus rapid transit or express buses; creating a separate trail for bicylists; reducing areas devoted to parking, and boosting up the green space to give drivers visual cues to slow down.
See the coalition’s “Our Lakefront” proposal here: http://bit.ly/11PqZQB
See the Sun-Times story on the “Our Lakefront” coalition’s proposal here: http://bit.ly/16xLP6X
According to the Illinois Department of Transportation’s North LSD website, state and city officials want to achieve “a balance between the original vision of a park boulevard and the realities of today’s travel demand.”
IDOT and the Chicago Department of Transportation would seek grants to pay for any work, but IDOT wants ideas now, since it says LSD is due for a rebuild, based on its age of 60 to 80 years. However, IDOT officials concede, no formal studies of whether a rebuild vs a resurfacing is needed have been done yet.
Here is the IDOT website on the North Lake Shore Drive project: http://bit.ly/1cgDThn
Officials also are concerned about how to reduce the average of three crashes a day on the 7-mile-long north leg of inner and outer LSD. The biggest crash site is the Belmont Ave. junction, with 820 crashes over 5 years, IDOT data on display at Monday night’s hearing indicated.
Bridges and viaducts also are a target for possible improvement. Some are deterioriated physically. But in addition, some advocates want to explore widening at least some viaducts to reduce the conjestion of walkers, bikers and drivers that navigate them. Here is IDOT’s bridge and viaduct report, based on data IDOT said it collected between 2011 and 2013:
Also a priority is addressing the “splash-over” of Lake Michigan water onto the drive, especially around Oak.
How would you like to see your tax dollars spent on the northern lakefront? If you can’t attend the first round of public meetings, email your comments to email@example.com or mail them to: North Lake Shore Drive Phase I Study, c/o Civiltech, 30 N. LaSalle, Suite 2624, Chicago, IL 60602. Your comments, but not your contact information, may be posted by IDOT.
Participants also can volunteer for taskforces. More public meetings will be held as information is collected.