LINCOLN PARK — A one-way street that runs through the heart of DePaul University’s Lincoln Park campus could be shut down in an effort to beautify the campus.
The proposed Kenmore Green would require shutting down Kenmore Avenue between Belden and Fullerton avenues to make way for pedestrian traffic. DePaul says the move would increase safety for students, but residents and students argue the loss of 47 parking spots in an area already lacking spaces would be a pain.
"It would suck for the people who have to commute,” said Jenna Parcells, a DePaul undergrad. “It won’t be easy for them.”
One argument that Parcells and the university agree on is the need to make the street safer for pedestrians.
DePaul closed the street for the month of May 2012 as a test run for the Kenmore Green, and during that time, Parcells said the campus felt more connected.
“It was nice, especially walking home at night. People drive really fast (down Kenmore) at night,” she said. “You wouldn’t have to worry about cars flying through it.”
While Allan Mellis, a director of the nearby Wrightwood Neighbors Association, agreed that safety was a concern, he said closing the street would shut down one of the main north-south thoroughfares in the area.
“Closing Kenmore provides minimal benefit to DePaul and substantial impact on the community,” he said. “It’s really going to funnel more traffic on to Sheffield and some on to Racine.”
Student Carli Schoenborn said many of her friends on campus commute from the suburbs, and the campus still remained a largely commuter campus. Although the proposed green would be convenient, she said it wouldn’t be worth the hassle.
“They probably shouldn’t do it because it’s a commuter campus,” Schoenborn, 21, said. “A lot of people depend on the parking.”
The proposal to close Kenmore is similar to the closing of Seminary Avenue, which also raised community concerns. That move, in the early 1990s, resulted in the construction of DePaul’s quad.
“A number of years ago the community was divided about closing Seminary, and they wound up closing Seminary,” Mellis said. “The benefit for the university really outweighed those for the community.”