RAVENSWOOD MANOR — A controversial plan to divert cut-through traffic away from Ravenswood Manor has been pushed back from August to September.
The new timeline was presented at last week's meeting of the 33rd Ward's Transportation Action Committee, according to an update provided by the Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association.
The eight-week trial is expected to begin Sept. 19, with the Chicago Department of Transportation delaying the project in response to neighbors' request to hold off until after the start of the school year.
During the test period, all automobile traffic on Manor Avenue will be diverted east or west at the street's juncture with Wilson Avenue. Barricades would be placed in the way of oncoming cars, though pedestrians and cyclists would be allowed to proceed through the intersection as normal.
Manor residents have complained for years that motorists use the sleepy enclave as a speedier alternative to Lawrence, Montrose and Kedzie avenues. These cut-through drivers create a hazard, neighbors said, for the adults and children who live, walk, bike and play in this heavily residential area.
Cars would still be allowed on Manor Avenue and two-way traffic would be maintained. But anyone attempting to travel north-south through Ravenswood Manor from one end to other (Montrose to Lawrence, or vice versa) — including residents — would find their route stymied at Wilson.
Manor Avenue was chosen for the experiment because traffic counts showed the street bears a disproportionate share of cars cutting through the neighborhood, carrying two to three times the number of vehicles as adjacent streets, according to Mike Amsden, assistant director of transportation planning with the transportation department.
Throughout the pilot period, the city would conduct traffic counts throughout the neighborhood and even as far east as Rockwell Street to assess how drivers are altering their habits, Amsden said.
The plan was unveiled at a community meeting in June and drew a mixed reaction from residents. Several said the proposal didn't go nearly far enough toward discouraging non-local drivers from passing through the neighborhood, while other argued that the restrictions over-reached, in effect turning public streets into private drives.
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