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Fullerton Avenue Face-lift Will Widen Sidewalks, Remove Train Tracks & More

By Mina Bloom | April 21, 2016 2:04pm
 A rendering of the proposed changes, including wider sidewalks
A rendering of the proposed changes, including wider sidewalks
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LINCOLN PARK — A stretch of Fullerton Avenue in Lincoln Park will be getting a much-needed face-lift, according to the office of 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins. 

The $5.5 million streetscape project will enhance both the north and south sides of Fullerton Avenue from Ashland to Racine avenues, which includes the 2nd, 32nd and 43rd wards, according to Chicago Department of Transportation officials.

In addition to resurfacing, wider sidewalks, decorative crosswalks, more trees and tree gates, permeable pavers, updated lighting and street bump outs with rain gardens and planters are coming to the street. Some defunct train tracks on the street will be removed.

"It's one of the heaviest east, west corridors," Hopkins said. "It was due for reconstruction."

For years, the project "languished in the planning stages" due to engineering, design and cost issues, as well as "competing priorities," according to Hopkins.

The freshman alderman said he made the project a "top priority" after taking office.

Construction is expected to begin this month if weather permits, and will last through November, according to CDOT officials.

Crews will begin on the south side of Fullerton at Ashland Avenue and work their way east in three stages: From Ashland to Janssen avenues, Janssen to Wayne avenues and, lastly, from Wayne to Racine avenues. 

While the construction won't affect pedestrian access, it will affect parking. Officials said parking will be prohibited on the street when there's active construction.

Hopkins said there will never be a time when parking is banned on both sides of Fullerton in the same area.

"We will move the parking ban from side to side as we proceed," he said.

Enhancing the street will not only make transportation smoother, but it'll also help existing businesses and draw in new ones, Hopkins said.

"It gives businesses greater opportunities for things like sidewalk cafes," he said. "Some of the spaces along Fullerton haven't always [gotten] the types of leases that they should for such a busy corridor. We know that by making this investment, it's going to spark that private investment as well."

The $5.5 million project will be funded mostly by CDOT with a little help from private money, Hopkins said.

Check out renderings below:

[All photos Courtesy/CDOT]

The way the street looks currently at Fullerton and Janssen avenues.

Fullerton at Janssen once the project is complete.

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