The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Does This Sign Make The Argyle Streetscape Any Less Confusing?

By Josh McGhee | January 5, 2017 8:45am
 Shared street sign at the corner of Argyle Street and Sheridan Road.
Shared street sign at the corner of Argyle Street and Sheridan Road.
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Josh McGhee

UPTOWN — A new sign explaining the first-of-its-kind, curbless "shared street" on Argyle in Uptown is causing some people to scratch their heads.

The sign, at the corner of Sheridan and Argyle, warns of a "Shared Street Ahead" and to slow down and watch for pedestrians. It also depicts a busy scene of bikers, pedestrians and a car sharing a zig-zagged street.

"It is a little confusing," said Emily Harris, who uses Argyle Street to commute to see family. "I guess it's supposed to let you know pedestrians can walk in the street. I like the look of it [as a pedestrian], but I haven't driven on it or had to park on it."

Like business owners along the stretch, Harris said she's seen a big improvement since Argyle Street reopened in August with the concept that blurs sidewalks and roads so cyclists, motorists and pedestrians can co-exist.

The opening weeks were marred with confusion as commuters adjusted, but the Chicago Department of Transportation said the adjustment period is over.

"We think that the traffic situation is pretty clear now that the 'no parking,' speed signs," have been installed, said Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Transportation.

In September, some of the confusion seemed to stem from the return to two-way traffic after months of construction as a one-way. At the time Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) told Uptown Update he was working on coordinating volunteers to help direct parkers and working with the Chicago Department of Transportation to get more signs.

Weeks later, after drivers became accustomed to Argyle Street's return to the two-way traffic passion, confusion still remained about how to park on the city's first shared street, which uses different colored pavers to show people where to park.

Most of the confusion ended once construction completely ended and the parking meters returned and the signage was placed on Argyle Street, Foher said.

But "people are still having problems parking" especially determining "how far they can come in or come out," said Michael, an employee of Marsala, who refused to give his last name.

Parking close to the restaurant at 1002 W. Argyle St. without a curb "is a big issue" that makes him uneasy. He believes a drunk driver could easily end up crashing into the storefront, he said.

"This is bound to happen," Michael said. "People are crazy. People drive like maniacs."

Across the street at Benny's Grill, Manager James Luong voiced similar concerns about people parking four or five feet front the restaurant, though the situation has been better since construction ended.

"I don't trust normal drivers to be able to figure it out... You can't really drive in a straight line because people have parked correctly and someone else has turned the street into a one-way," Luong said.

The new curb-less configuration, left some drivers parking far away from the designated parking spots, essentially blocking a lane of traffic. 

After the problems, the Chicago Department of Transportation released an instructional video to help commuters navigate the situation.

CDOT's Instructional Video for Navigating Argyle

For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here.