by Michelle Stenzel
I decided to walk to the SoNo area today to pick up some items at Whole Foods. What? You've never heard of the SoNo neighborhood? Well, it's that "no name" area that's SOuth of NOrth Avenue, and west of Halsted. You know, where the giant Whole Foods is. When I first saw a billboard years ago for a developer trying to tout that new moniker, I wondered whether they had thought through the negative connotations of the phrase "So No". The name doesn't seem to have caught on, as the Whole Foods itself claims to be in Lincoln Park, when the border of Lincoln Park is actually more than a block away.
In any case, I walked mostly along North Avenue starting at Sedgwick, snapping pictures along the way, and thought that I'd share my observations about the state of walking, bicycling and generally the feel of the area. There's not much to celebrate.
|North Avenue is a state route that was designed for high-speed, noisy motorized vehicle traffic.
To begin with, North Avenue west of Sedgwick is a wide, car-oriented highway with a design that encourages high speeds. Drivers regularly exceed the 30 mph speed limit, induced by the wide open lanes and long distances between signallized intersections. There are no bike lanes of any kind. There are sidewalks, but not much to look at but the sides of townhouse developments and mini-mall parking lots. (More -->)