EDGEWATER — The busy intersection of North Broadway and Devon Avenue could be redrawn to be more pedestrian friendly, officials said.
The exact details of the plan, which would face extensive public hearings, have yet to be developed, but the city has set aside $3.1 million in Tax Increment Financing funds for the project, said Ald. Harry Osterman (48th).
"I really look at that [intersection] as a way to have a gateway into Edgewater," he said.
The proposed streetscape would be just one of many projects along North Broadway to be discussed at a community meeting next Thursday night at the Edgewater Library.
"We’ve been working over the last year and half doing a study of North Broadway, from Uptown to Devon," Osterman said in a phone interview Thursday.
The ongoing study addresses the question of how to "bring in more quality development" to North Broadway, while also making it more pedestrian friendly, he said.
For The Coffee Shop owner Tammie Mann, that can't come soon enough.
"I do worry quite a bit about the neighborhood people," Mann said. "So far I haven’t seen anybody hit by a car, but I see near misses every single day."
At the border of Rogers Park and Edgewater, four major streets — North Broadway, Devon Avenue and North and West Sheridan Road — converge at the intersection.
A triangle island in the center of the intersection calms some traffic, but also discourages Mann's customers from legally crossing West Sheridan Road at a crosswalk up the block to get to her shop, she said.
"I'm here so many hours I know I’m going to be the one who has to go deal with the broken, dead bodies," she said. "I beg them, 'Please go to the corner.'"
But, she said, they "just cut across."
Ald. Joe Moore (49th) also said he has had "very preliminary discussions" with the city about improvements there, but no definitive plans had been set in place.
Any plan would be vetted by the community before being implemented, he said.
Thursday's meeting — scheduled for 6-8:30 p.m. at the Edgewater Library, 1210 W. Elmdale Ave. — would also give residents a chance to weigh in on other North Broadway projects, including commercial development, pedestrian islands, bike lanes, people spots and art installations, Osterman said.
Some small-scale projects, like artwork and people spots, could be implemented as soon as this summer, he said.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Department of Transportation plans to install bike lanes this spring on Broadway between Montrose and Foster avenues.
Residents would also be able to comment on what they would like to see come of Uptown's struggling entertainment district.
In conjunction with North Broadway, the city has launched a study of Lake Shore Drive, dubbed "Redefine the Drive," which could have lasting effects on Edgewater, where the expressway ends, Osterman said.
The projects would also add to Edgewater's business boom, he said, especially when Whole Foods opens its first store on the Far North Side next year at the former Dominick's space, 6009 North Broadway.
"All of it leads to the livability of our neighborhood," he said. "If we can have people feel comfortable walking down Broadway, people will feel comfortable opening businesses in Edgewater."
CONTRIBUTING: Adeshina Emmanuel