Closed lanes on Lawrence Ave. near the Metra station could open up sooner than anticipated, but the new Lawrence streetscape plan could permanently narrow the street to three lanes between Ashland and Western avenues.
The current construction, the “Ravenswood Sewer Project,” on Lawrence and Hermitage avenues feels like it has been going on forever. The lanes on the south side of Lawrence Ave. have been closed, and the narrowing of the street has often led to some traffic back-ups at the bottleneck.
The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that the Lawrence streetscape project, slated to start in late 2011, would narrow Lawrence Ave. permanently to three lanes to slow car traffic and encourage foot traffic. From the article:
Removing one lane in each direction will make room for wider sidewalks to foster a more welcoming experience for pedestrians. In addition, a designated bike lane in each direction will be striped. In-street islands will be built along crosswalks to create a safe haven for people crossing streets. Other amenities will be added, including more than 150 trees, better lighting, benches and even enough space for sidewalk cafes, officials said.
Ald. Gene Schulter’s website states that his office is working with the Chicago Department of Transportation to finalize plans for the streetscape project, tentatively scheduled for fall 2011.
As for the Ravenswood Sewer Project, it’s been a year and a half—not forever—since it started. And now it looks like the project is actually moving along ahead of schedule, Schulter’s office confirmed.
The original timeline had slated the project to finish by summer 2011, said Schulter spokesman Rob Rawls. But now the lanes on Lawrence Ave. could be open by March.
The construction project was crucial to preventing the type of sinkhole that ravaged Montrose Ave. in 2008, Rawls said. The sewer was about 100 years old, the same as those that collapsed under Montrose.
“We do completely understand the huge burden this has placed on the residents in the area,” said Rawls.
Schulter’s office said in its weekly report that crews have completed excavation of the shaft at Lawrence and Hermitage, and are beginning work on the connection structure.