Safety improvements planned for stretch of Milwaukee Ave.


About $1.5 million in pedestrian, bicycle and traffic safety improvements are planned for Milwaukee Avenue from Lawrence Avenue on the south to Peterson Avenue on north, according to Alderman John Arena (45th).

Work is scheduled to start in the spring. Plans reportedly also are in the works to extend the improvements on Milwaukee north to Elston Avenue in the 39th Ward.

Plans call for the installation of pedestrian refugee islands and new crosswalks, lane markings and bike lanes. The project would include sections of roadway where new bike lanes would run along the curb with the parking lane to the outside.

"We have some very complicated intersections there," Arena said. "Depending on the intersection, it will determine which tools are used. On that stretch of Milwaukee, this will help facilitate all modes of transportation."

The intersection of Milwaukee, Austin and Ardmore avenues is among the intersections which will receive several improvements, Arena said. Bumpouts from the curb will be used to shorten the distance which pedestrians must walk to cross the intersection, and Ardmore in front of Saint Tarcissus School will become one-way westbound in an effort to accommodate student dropoffs, he said.

In addition, the intersection of Northwest Highway, Carmen Avenue and Milwaukee next to the 16th (Jefferson Park) District parking garage will be reconfigured in an effort to improve traffic safety, and a pedestrian refugee island and a new crosswalk will be installed in front of the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Also, new crosswalks may be installed in areas near businesses with a high volume of customers, and some curb cuts which are no longer used or are seldom used may be eliminated for safety reasons.

Some street parking may be eliminated to accommodate some of the improvements, but efforts will be made to keep that at a minimum, Arena said. Milwaukee Avenue has about 400 parking spaces between Lawrence and Peterson, but only about 300 of those spaces usually are being used at the same time, he said.

Most of the project would be paid with federal and state funds in addition to an $185,000 allocation from the Jefferson Park Tax Increment Financing District, Arena said.

Arena and the city Department of Transportation are planning to discuss the project at the meeting of the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce at 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 3, at Gladstone Chiropractic, 5316 N. Milwaukee Ave. Arena said that his staff will meet with several Milwaukee Avenue business owners and that a community meeting will be held in mid-January.