Should the pedestrian zone on Chicago Ave. be extended from Wood to Damen?


Showing the two blocks between Damen and Wood, "POS-2" is the Commercial Park area and the "1850" parcel is the vacant parcel

An extension to Damen Ave. of the pedestrian zone from Chicago Ave. and Ashland Ave. to Wood St. was the basis of a meeting in Commercial Park, 1845 W. Rice. St., on Jan. 9, organized by 1st Ward Alderman Proco "Joe" Moreno.


Alderman Moreno discusses zoning process as 10th District State Rep Derrick Smith looks on

Moreno explained that while zoning changes can be made by the aldermen and that he wants the decision on this change in the next couple of weeks, he wants all parties who may be impacted by the extension to express their opinions on this project. That includes the East Village Assn., Chicago Grand Neighbors Assn. and the Chamber.

"A pedestrian zone encourages businesses that service local residents," explained  Steven Valenziano, Dir. of Ordinance Admin., Dept. of Housing and Economic Development. "Concerned with pedestrian safety and comfort, they are intended to promote a vital economic area."

Benefits given for having pedestrian streets which are identified for this project are:

  • Preservation and enhancement of the unique character of streets and intersections
  • Promotion of economic vitality
  • Promotion of pedestrian safety and comfort
  • Reduction of congestion/traffic
  • Reduction of pollution

Steve Valenziano expains pedestrian zones

Drawbacks can be some restrictions on the form of new construction and type of businesses. An example of construction would be that it should not be a strip mall type layout. Building facades facing the pedestrian street must abut the sidewalk or be located within five feet of the sidewalk. Businesses requiring a curb cut, such as an automotive business, would be a business type  that would conform with a pedestrian street.


Ken Kosinski explains the long relationship between the neighborhood and his family

The Kosinski family who were area residents for decades own the property. A bowling establishment came to them with a proposal to establish their business on the site. That interest dissipated but the existing buildings were torn down. Several residents as well as the Alderman's office were concerned about a strip mall or other businesses that would not be in keeping with a pedestrian street environment filling the vacant land.

Ken Kosinski and his family were at the meeting and asked that more time be taken before the extension was granted. With the history of the family in the neighborhood, they too are concerned about the development of the property.  They have some ideas that they want to pursue that could possibly include Commercial Park being extended to Chicago Ave.


Many community groups were present at the meeting

Moreno's office is requesting local organizations to submit a letter of support or rejection of the proposal as the East Village Assn. is working to bring the local organizations together to talk over the proposed extension.

Other pedestrian streets and pedestrian retail streets are: Division St. from Marshfield Ave. to Leavitt St., Milwaukee Ave. between Division St. and North Ave. and Milwaukee Ave. from North Ave. to Damen Ave. Chicago's zoning code for Pedestrian Streets is 17-3-0500. Its description begins on page 53.

Image courtesy of the 1st Ward Office



What businesses in that area

What businesses in that area will have to make changes in order to become in compliance with the new zoning? How costly is it for those businesses?

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Insert images and media with <pp_img> or <pp_media>. See formatting options for syntax.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.