Present walkways in Chicago do not permit sufficient social distancing, Ald. Matt Martin says.
As the city gradually begins to reopen, certain safety measures and requirements will remain in place. According to Gov. JB Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan, each phase will require face coverings and social distancing. In order to maximize social distancing, Alderman Matt Martin wants to open up residential streets including Lincoln Square for pedestrians.
“We know those sidewalks are getting crowded, and some nights you may need some extra space to social distance on your walk or run!” Martin wrote on Facebook. “We’re in active conversations with CDOT about potential solutions, looking at other large cities as a model.”
Organizations such as Hammersely Architecture have pitched similar ideas with their Chicago Promenade Plan:
“Our goal…is to show how we as a larger community can open up our existing resources to offer relief to all of its inhabitants throughout the city,” the plan reads. “Neighborhood by neighborhood, these part-time promenades could be configured with guidance and input from neighborhood groups, local alderman, and City of Chicago government.”
Ald. Matt Martin of the 47th Ward concurs, saying:
“People are going out for their morning or evening walk with a pet or taking a jog, they’re wearing masks and they’re trying to social distance, so they’re walking in the parkway or running in the street. It looks like more space could be helpful.”
The alderman’s district oversees Lincoln Square, as well as areas in Uptown, Lakeview, and North Center. In drafting his plan, the alderman has held discussions with residents, retailers, fellow aldermen, and the Chicago Department of Transportation on configuring possible strategies.
The center of his plan resides in opening up streets as pedestrian walkways, though permitting emergency vehicles, garbage trucks, and delivery drivers.
To illustrate his plan, the alderman has created an interactive web map demonstrating how the walkways would operate.
As of now, there is no timeline on when or if these measures would be implemented.
“We want to make sure that as people are spending more time outside, we are adjusting infrastructure accordingly,” he said.
[Featured image: @cassiuswright]