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Devon Avenue Streetscape to Kick Off Next Week, Alderman Says

By Benjamin Woodard | April 11, 2014 8:37am
 Wider sidewalks, trees and artwork would line the busy strip in West Rogers Park.
Devon Avenue Streetscape
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WEST ROGERS PARK — The much-anticipated Devon Avenue streetscape project, which will take years to complete and cost $15 million, will begin sometime next week, Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th) said Thursday.

Silverstein, in an email to constituents, didn't specify when exactly next week the project will begin. She said she would share more details soon.

The project aims to widen sidewalks and add artwork and trees along the street loaded with Indian restaurants, ethnic grocery stores and a dense Jewish population.

The first phase of construction between Sacramento and California avenues would begin in the fall or in spring 2014.

The four-block stretch would be the first of five sections of Devon Avenue to get the facelift. Work on the final section, from Kedzie to Sacramento avenues, would be begin in spring of 2016.

All told, the streetscape would extend from Kedzie to Leavitt avenues.

The city said $13.3 million of funding for the project will come from the area's tax increment financing district, while the remaining $1.7 million will come from a grant from the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program.

In a presentation to the community last summer, a Chicago Department of Transportation official said the roadway would be reduced to 11 feet per lane to make way for bigger sidewalks and to discourage double parking.

Curb "bump outs" would also be installed at intersections to reduce the distance pedestrians need to cross the street.

The city designated the majority of Devon Avenue's business district as the most dangerous stretch of road on the North Side, according to the Transportation Department's 2011 pedestrian crash analysis report.

Recently, Rogers Park Police District officers have cracked down on distracted drivers along the strip following a series of crashes involving pedestrians.

The city said it would not add bike lanes to Devon Avenue, but would add more locations to lock up bicycles.

Some intersections, including at Sacramento and Devon avenue, would be "stamped" with a decorative circular design on the pavement.

On side streets, the city plans to add potted plants and metal seats. Colorful, decorative screens would also be added behind the seating areas.

The expanded sidewalks could also allow for business owners to install sidewalk cafes in front of their stores.