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Improve Safety Under Lake Street 'L', Local Business Owners Demand

By Stephanie Lulay | February 21, 2017 3:55pm
 The Fulton Market Association is calling on the city to improve safety under the Lake Street
The Fulton Market Association is calling on the city to improve safety under the Lake Street "L" between Halsted and Ashland.
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DNAinfo/Stephanie Lulay

WEST LOOP — Calling the thoroughfare between Halsted and Ashland on Lake Street "one of the most dangerous streets in Chicago," a West Loop business group is once again urging the city to make changes. 

The Fulton Market Association, previously known as the Randolph/Fulton Market Association, will host a meeting with U.S. Rep. Danny Davis at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Wishbone Restaurant, 1001 W. Washington Blvd. Neighbors and property owners living in the West Loop are invited. 

With more traffic in the booming neighborhood, the stretch of Lake Street between Halsted Street and Ashland Avenue has become a dangerous thoroughfare where accidents and close calls are increasingly common, residents say.

The street is particularly difficult to navigate as cars, bikes and pedestrians dart in and out of the line of metal columns supporting the "L" tracks.

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At the meeting, neighbors and business owners will urge Davis to connect with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) to schedule Lake Street safety and infrastructure improvements on Lake Street between Halsted and Ashland, said Roger Romanelli, executive director of the association. 

Romanelli called conditions on Lake Street "life-threatening" and said that improving safety in the corridor from Halsted to Ashland should be the city's priority. 

“Our community is deeply concerned over the Emanuel administration’s decision to delay — and some say ignore — urgent safety improvements for Lake Street between Halsted Stree and Ashland Avenue, including even maintaining basic street lights,” Romanelli said. “Public safety is in jeopardy, and government funds are available for repairs."

In response to the association's 2016 campaign to improve Lake Street, the Chicago Department of Transportation installed "Cross Traffic Does Not Stop" warning signs at intersections. While the agency is grateful for the signs, those mprovements aren't enough to stop accidents, Romanelli said. 

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As part of the campaign, the agency called on the city to: 

• Install a stoplight at Lake and Morgan streets  

• Install more four-way stop signs and crosswalks at key intersections, specifically at Lake and Elizabeth streets. 

• Repair broken lights under the "L" 

Mike Claffey, CDOT spokesman, said last August that a a four-way signal at Lake and Morgan is in the works, but the project has not been completed.