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South Chicago Set To Get Raised Bike Lanes, Markers Honoring History To Make Streets ‘Vibrant And Accessible,’ Leaders Say

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SOUTH CHICAGO – Two commercial corridors in South Chicago will receive upgrades worth millions of dollars over the next few years, local leaders announced Tuesday.

Resurfacing, elevated bike lanes, curb extensions to shorten intersections, bus stop overhangs, accessible ramps and pedestrian crossings, lighting, and more will be completed along Commercial Avenue between 83rd Street and South Chicago Avenue and along 92nd Street between Anthony and Harbor avenues, city officials said.

Community identifiers and sidewalk plaques will also be installed along the stretches that “highlight the rich history and culture of South Chicago,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday during a groundbreaking ceremony at the Salud Center, 3039 E. 91st St. .

The updates — which include accessible ramps and pedestrian crossings, traffic light updates and new signals — “will make the streets of this community safer.” [and] also support economic development,” Lightfoot said.

The Chicago Department of Transportation will lead the $43 million project, funded by the Chicago Works Infrastructure Plan. It should be completed by the end of 2025.

“A vibrant, accessible highway is an important part of promoting economic growth,” said Tom Carney, first deputy commissioner of the Department of Transportation.

The project has its roots in a community revitalization plan led by special service area No. 5 and the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute of Big Cities, ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) said.

Neighbors identified a need for “a more pedestrian and bicyclist-friendly commercial avenue, with improved lighting and a more aesthetically pleasing streetscape,” Sadlowski Garza said.

Special service area no. 5 permanent public art, vendor stalls and other updates to Commercial Avenue through the Chicago Alfresco program last year.

Leaders hope the updates will attract businesses and encourage existing stores to “revitalize their streetfront facades,” said Tom Schell, South Chicago corridor manager for Invest South/West.

“I think it will bring more of our residents to the shopping district, like it used to,” said Schell, who also works for Special Service Area Service Provider No. 5, South Chicago Parents and Friends.

Credit: Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
A poster showing a rendering of streetscape updates in South Chicago, which are expected to be completed over the next three years.
Credit: Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
Mayor Lori Lightfoot (center) prepares for a dedication ceremony at the corner of 91st Street and Houston Avenue Tuesday as a pedestrian (far left) and a CTA bus pass by and Claretian Associates executive director Angela Hurlock ( to Lightfoot’s right) look.
Credit: Maxwell Evans/Block Club Chicago
The view north along Commercial Avenue near 90th Street on November 22, 2022.

Streetscape updates are part of it the city’s Invest South/West initiativewhich pledged $750 million in public funds over three years for commercial development in 10 South and West Side neighborhoods.

Last week, city officials celebrated the third anniversary of the initiative and publicized the $2.2 billion in public and private funds secured for Invest South/West projects. The city has committed $280 million of that total to urban projects through the initiative, Lightfoot said Tuesday.

The development of Galeria 89 supported by the city A project is also underway to bring 58 affordable apartments and shops to South Chicago, officials said.

The $36.4 million development is planned for a mostly vacant tract of property on the 8800 block of Commercial Avenue. The current plan is approximately $13 million more expensive and would create 13 more apartments than last year’s projection.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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