Cuyler could close to traffic for pedestrian plaza at Six Corners
by BRIAN NADIG
About $1 million in tax increment financing funds has been secured to pay for the installation of a pedestrian plaza on Cuyler Avenue, just west of Milwaukee Avenue in the Six Corners commercial district, according to Alderman John Arena (45th).
“The plaza is planned for Cuyler at Milwaukee west to the alley entrance. To accommodate residents, businesses and other people accessing Six Corners, Cuyler (between the alley and Laporte Avenue) will be converted to a two-way street with a cul-de-sac at the eastern end.
“Additionally, my office and Six Corners Association are working with CDOT (Chicago Department of Transportation) to determine whether or not converting the block of 4000 N. Laporte Ave. into a two-way street (currently northbound only) would improve traffic flow,” Arena stated in ward’s April 19 newsletter.
Currently motorists on Milwaukee can use Cuyler to access a city parking lot on Laporte, but under the plan Cuyler would be blocked at Milwaukee to traffic. The only other way to access the parking lot is via Irving Park Road by turning north onto Laporte.
However, if Laporte were to become a two-way street, motorists on Milwaukee could access the lot via Belle Plaine Avenue..
The lot, which can accommodate more than 100 cars, is at its most crowded when there are concerts at the Portage Theater, 4050 N. Milwaukee Ave. The theater has been closed for a year, but a new owner is looking to renovate the theater.
Joe Angelastri, who owns City News Café, 4018 N. Cicero Ave., said that while the installation of the plaza is a recommendation in the Six Corners Master Plan, a community meeting on the current plan should have been held months ago, prior to the funding being secured.
Angelastri said that one of the concerns among merchants is the Cuyler offers a convenient route for n to the city lot because the street dead ends the lot’s entrance. He said that the theater along with the popularity of Fantasy Costumes, 4065 N. Milwaukee Ave., during Halloween draw large crowds, including many first-time visitors who are unfamiliar with the area.
Arena said that the plans are in their “preliminary stages” and that after an engineering contract is awarded for the project, there will be “plenty of opportunities for robust community engagement” on the final design.
“Much like the Giddings Plaza in Lincoln Square, this gathering space will help transform Six Corners back into the premier shopping and dinning destination for the entire Northwest Side,” Arena said. Arena’s term as alderman ends on May 20, when his replacement Jim Gardiner will be sworn in.
A portion of the recently opened Fischman Public House, 4058 N. Milwaukee Ave., fronts the section of Cuyler where the plaza would be installed. “The (planned) people plaza helps continue the efforts of creating a pedestrian and bike friendly culture in our commercial district,” the Six Corners Association said in a statement.