ENGLEWOOD — Making sure the "Englewood Line" — a nature trail proposed for the South Side — is safely accessible for pedestrians is the goal of the Active Transportation Alliance.
The 1.7-mile-long trail would be along an abandoned elevated railroad between 58th and 59th streets, from Wallace to Hoyne. The trail would be similar to the 606 parks system, which includes the Bloomingdale Trail former rail line, on the North Side. The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development contracted urban planning firm Teska Associates for project management.
Teska officials would like to see construction begin as early as this summer.
Cynthia Hudson, community liaison for Active Transportation Alliance, said she wants people to feel safe. Her team is conducting walkability assessments and speaking with residents about safety.
“We want to make sure that residents, pedestrians, bicyclists and transit users can access the trail from different areas,” Hudson said. “We want to make sure the streets are safe enough so people can access it.”
Last week, Hudson took post at the intersection of 63rd and Halsted streets to watch traffic patterns, driver behaviors and speak with pedestrians.
“The key takeaway is the turning cars,” she said. “We see they have the countdown timers, the crosswalks in place, but the cars just turn.”
Hudson said that one solution to that is by placing in curb bump-outs, which are extensions of the sidewalk into the street. The purpose is to shorten crossing distances on streets, which makes it safer for people to cross the street.
“We hope to use all the information we gathered today and pass that forward to Teska to help them out with the planning,” Hudson said.
She is planning on scheduling more walkability assessments and encourages the community to join her. Hudson can be reached either by phone, 312-216-0464 or through email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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