Friday, August 23, 2013

Good turnout, great ideas at the Clark Street workshop

by Michelle Stenzel

The Clark Street workshop was a great success. About 45 people attended the event, which Bike Walk Lincoln Park co-hosted with Alderman Michele Smith and Active Transportation Alliance this past week. The group included neighbors from Lincoln Park, people who travel through the area on their commutes, and many representatives of the buildings bordering the area being studied.
Alderman Michele Smith addressed the crowd at the start of the workshop. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
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As planned, we walked along the street in small groups to observe current conditions, and then convened inside to share our observations and generate ideas for improvements. Reporters were in attendance, and their excellent write-ups describe the events well, so I'll direct you to those via links:

"Residents Reimagine Clark Street at Streetside Workshop" by Kristen Maddox, on Streetsblog Chicago:
All participants seemed to feel that that the current street design benefited no one, even motorists, since they face traffic bottlenecks and unpredictable movements by other road users. Pedestrian crossings feel unsafe and lack consistency since some are merely two parallel lines while others have upgraded to high-visibility, zebra-striped “international” crosswalks. 
"Residents, Business Owners Agree: Clark Street Needs 'Road Diet'" by Paul Biasco, on DNA Info Chicago:

Leigh Stevenson, the Chicago History Museum's Director of Accounting said the intersection of LaSalle is a worry to museum staff. 
"Anything to fix that. It is just a derailment," she said. "Older citizens who visit the museum are terrified." 

Measuring motor vehicle speeds on Clark Street at Wisconsin. (Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)

Michael Reynolds and I were very happy with the big turnout, as well as the enthusiasm of the participants. The volume of ideas brought forward was impressive! Luckily, Brenna Conway and Jim Merrell, the Active Trans pros leading the workshop, captured everything in writing, on maps and charts.

The next step is summarizing all the problems and suggestions into one report, which we will forward to the Complete Streets team of the Chicago Department of Transportation (have you seen their new Chicago Complete Streets website yet?) with a request for their recommendations for improvements. We look forward to seeing the report and eventually receiving CDOT's ideas for how to make this stretch of Clark one that will work better for everyone who uses the street.

We'd like to extend special thanks to Hotel Lincoln for allowing us the use of a conference room for the inside portion of the workshop, and then for creating the fabulous J. Parker rooftop bar, on which we enjoyed a few cocktails after the business of the evening was done!
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