chicago_argyle-350Chicago — Chicago opened its first “shared” street. Located on Argyle Street between Broadway and Sheridan, the shared street is designed to increase safety and support community members with a plaza-like environment.

“This project creates an area that is more walkable, more sustainable and has a greater sense of place for the community,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Whether you are walking, biking, driving or using public transit, we want all modes of transportation to be safe to use and accessible for all Chicagoans.”

“The Argyle Shared Street project is the result of an extensive community engagement process involving local merchants and residents of the community,” Ald. Harry Osterman said. “We have already seen broader use of the street as a gathering place and the new streetscape is spurring local businesses to spruce up their storefronts.”

The project built by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) involved raising the level of the roadway, eliminating curbs, adding decorative pavement, and creating a plaza-like effect that made the street fully ADA accessible.  The project employed the Complete Streets design approach and ensured all users are accommodated safely and comfortably.

“The Argyle Shared Street project demonstrates CDOT’s commitment to innovative streetscape design that prioritizes safety, lays the foundation for economic development and enhances quality of life,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “We were very pleased to work with Alderman Osterman and local stakeholders on this project which builds on Argyle Street’s strengths as a retail and transit hub.”

The project includes a number of green elements, updating the infrastructure with new more efficient streetlights and the use of permeable pavers and infiltration planters that are designed to soak up rainwater. It also improves safety with narrower lanes and the use of chicanes, which slow down vehicular traffic by introducing a slight curve.

CDOT has created a video demonstrating the most effective way to navigate the shared street:

“The partnership created on this project helps all of us to better understand how working together we can resolve problems with integrated solutions. Incorporating the green technologies that we see here benefits our residents today, and provides a model for future sustainable collaborations,” Chicago Department of Water Management Commissioner Barrett B. Murphy said.

In addition to using green technologies wherever possible, Argyle Street is one of only four in the City to use sensors provided as part of a pilot project from City Digital, A UI LABS Collaboration, for monitoring the green infrastructure’s performance. These sensors will provide real-time information about the water management capabilities of this project.

“There are many neighborhoods in the city, including some in my ward that could benefit from the use of shared streets,” Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said. “I look forward to seeing the street evolve and learning from this pilot so we can create similar spaces in other communities.”

The approximately $4.5 million project was funded through a combination of TIF, menu and Department of Water infrastructure funding to accommodate the permeable pavers, planters and other elements designed to absorb rainwater.