In addition to the usual snowplows and pothole crews this winter, you’ll notice construction clogging the streets of Uptown. That’s because the city is turning a three-block stretch of Argyle between Sheridan and Broadway into Chicago’s first European-style “shared street.” The $4.5 million project, funded mostly with TIF money, aims to bring more shoppers and improved safety to the neighborhood by leveling the barriers between walkers, bikers, and drivers. The counterintuitive idea originated with the Dutch—a traffic engineer named Hans Monderman found that giving more space to pedestrians forces motorists to slow down—and has been adopted across Europe. Here’s how it will work.
1. Slower driving
Planners expect drivers will slow to a glacial 10 miles per hour.
2. Twisted street
New angles in the road will discourage speeding.
3. Infiltration planters
The planted beds will collect excess storm water and prevent flooding.
4. Wider sidewalks
They’ll expand by four feet in certain areas.
5. No curbs
The street will be raised to sidewalk level and repaved with new stones, including colored ones to indicate where the sidewalk ends.
6. More trees
Each block will have about 20 trees and six bike racks.
7. Less parking
Ten spots will vanish from the street, but don’t worry—there are two lots right off Argyle.