UPTOWN — After more than a year of planning and community meetings, officials said they've finalized the design of the upcoming Argyle Streetscape.
The office of Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) has released a rendering of the streetscape plan, which features Chicago's first "shared street," a street design more common in Europe that blurs the line between street and sidewalk by raising the street and cutting curbs while slowing traffic and creating a plaza-like feel.
The project will cost about $3 million and begin in spring 2015, according to Osterman's office.
Osterman has said the makeover of the Argyle area, home to a significant Asian population from various countries and many thriving Asian-owned businesses, is "critical in the future development of Uptown."
The rendering from his office gives an idea of the shared street concept but the street in the image is not Argyle Street. Osterman compared the concept to Bell Street in Seattle in an email to constituents last week.
The streetscape project includes a new vertical identifier at Argyle and Broadway to complement the "Asia on Argyle" sign at the Argyle 'L' station, which was installed last year and was met with mixed reviews from neighbors.
Argyle from Broadway to Sheridan would be lined with pavers colored two or three different colors to distinguish traffic lanes, parking lanes and pedestrian areas. Planters and permeable pavers will help siphon off stormwater and beautify the area. The redesign includes new lighting, planters, trees and other improvements.
The latest plans show a few changes compared to initial designs revealed in December. That includes larger pedestrian areas for sidewalk cafes and pavers spanning north and south on Winthrop and Kenmore avenues, up to the alleys, will "help tie in the side streets," the email said.
Osterman's email said a century-old water main on Argyle has to be replaced before the project can commence. That project kicks off this winter, with the streetscape project slated to follow in the spring.
The alderman has said he anticipates that the changes on Argyle could boost business and instill a feeling of safety in the area, which has experienced some issues with vacant storefronts, vagrancy and crime.
Click here for more information from Osterman's website.
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