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Streeterville Wants Safer Streets for Walkers, More Green Development

 Community members discuss their ideas for the Streeterville Neighborhood Plan at a meeting to present an early draft.
Community members discuss their ideas for the Streeterville Neighborhood Plan at a meeting to present an early draft.
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DNAinfo/Lizzie Schiffman

STREETERVILLE — Making the streets safer for pedestrians and bikers, encouraging more environmentally friendly development featuring green roofs and creating more destination spots are some of the hopes for the future of Streeterville, according to a draft of a neighborhood plan presented this week.

More than 100 community members attended the Wednesday meeting of the Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, where a draft "Streeterville Neighborhood Plan" was presented. 

The 47-page plan was developed by SOAR in partnership with University of Illinois-Chicago urban planning students Malek Abdulsamad and Ros Meerdink.

"We just want to make sure it's the absolute best, and we do it right the first time," SOAR President Gail Spreen said.

 Land use analyses from the preliminary draft of the Streeterville Neighborhood Plan.
Streeterville Neighborhood Plan
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Meant to update SOAR's 2005 strategic neighborhood plan, the new proposal outlines areas for improvement in land use and development, transportation, environmental consciousness and "placemaking," which refers to infrastructure that drives pedestrians to a previously underused area.

"As much as you think that Streeterville is a built up environment, it isn't," Spreen said. "Especially south Streeterville — I would say that we're only half done here."

Adding more bike- and pedestrian-friendly pathways was one request of those at the meeting. More than 30 percent of Streeterville residents commute on foot daily, something Spreen said attracts many residents to live in the Downtown neighborhood in the first place. The city's average is just over 5 percent.

More Streeterville residents also commute by bike than the city average, at almost 10 percent, and just over 30 percent of residents drive to and from work daily, compared to nearly 60 percent of all Chicago residents.

The plan noted that while the city's population was declining, the population of Streeterville grew by 16 percent, to 29,000. While the biggest group is aged 25 to 34, there is also a big group of people between the ages of 60 and 64.

Meanwhile, more than 65,000 people commute to jobs in the neighborhood from other areas.

SOAR will continue to gather community responses with surveys in the coming months on the group's website.

Download a copy of the plan draft here.