06/19/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/19/2017 14:19
$3.2 Million Streetscape Project Will Improve Pedestrian Safety and Community Identity Along the Busy Stretch that Connects Malcolm X College and the United Center
Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld was joined today by Alderman Walter Burnett (27 Ward) in launching a streetscape project that will improve safety and boost community vitality along a three-block stretch of Damen Avenue from Van Buren Street to Monroe Street near Malcolm X College and the United Center. The project includes the installation of brightly colored community identifiers created by a Chicago artist that will enliven the corridor and create a distinct identity.
'This is more than just a streetscape project, this is an important infrastructure investment that will beautify the neighborhood, improve safety and add to the surge of development and economic growth we are seeing on the near West Side, with projects like the new Green Line CTA station at Damen and Lake, the new Blackhawks facility and the beautiful new campus of Malcolm X College,' Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
The $3.2 million project will take about one year to complete and was designed in close cooperation with Alderman Burnett and other stakeholders, including Malcolm X College and the United Center, will provide new sidewalks and ADA ramps and crosswalks, pedestrian refuge islands, sidewalk bump outs, new lighting, landscaping and other amenities designed to encourage foot traffic and increase pedestrian safety.
The newly designed streetscape will create a vibrant new gateway for pedestrians to the neighborhood from the Illinois Medical District CTA station which is undergoing a $23 million renovation by the CTA.
'CDOT is pleased to launch this streetscape project that demonstrates Mayor Emanuel's commitment to building stronger, safer and more vibrant communities as we see here on the near West Side and all across the City of Chicago,' CDOT Commissioner Scheinfeld said. 'This streetscape project is also a great example of how CDOT is working to construct streets that are safer for all users through Vision Zero Chicago.'
'I would like to thank Mayor Emanuel and CDOT for taking on this project that will help improve pedestrian safety for this neighborhood that so many people pass through every day,' Alderman Burnett said. 'The beautiful art work that we are installing as part of the project will help enliven the communityandcreate a unique identity that highlights the rebirth and vitality that we are seeing throughout the 27 Ward.'
'We are thrilled that this project is moving forward,' said Malcolm X College Interim President David Sanders. 'The thoughtful design of the streetscape along Damen Avenue will create a welcoming gateway to our modern campus.'
The project includes the installation of a number of brightly colored, wing-shaped community identifiers affixed to street poles dubbed 'West Side Victory and Opportunity.' They were designed by the Chicago artist Justus Roe III.
'The abstract imagery, design, and sculptural objects/elements reflect the energy and bourgeoning opportunities that the neighborhood represents.' Roe said. 'These balance the gravitational pull of the United Center - the home of champions and the stage for artists - that pulls the region into its orbit along our transportation arteries. The future success of this neighborhood will be created through the collaboration of the City with all of its multiple and diverse users.'
The streetscape project team will work closely with the United Center, Malcolm X College and the community to minimize traffic impacts during construction and avoid work during periods when heavy traffic is expected, such as sporting events and concerts. Throughout construction, Damen Avenue will remain open to motorists and pedestrians and access will be maintained to businesses and residences. Parking will not be allowed in the area of active construction and there will be periodic parking restrictions on some side streets.