Placemaking on Lincoln: Listening to Sneckdowns


We’re excited to see progress underway on the new Placemaking project for the Lincoln | Wellington | Southport intersection.  Moss has taken an interest in the Lincoln Ave planning before.   Here are a couple of photos of the work in progress.  The protected pedestrian areas have been marked out by temporary bollards, and some of the planned sidewalk paint has been roughed out.  Our pictures have been punched up in photoshop to show where all the newly protected areas are – so this green isn’t the planned final color for the project.

The Lakeview Chamber has worked with Chicago landscape firm, Site Design Group to transform that stretch of Lincoln into a more pedestrian (and business) friendly area rather than a cut through for car traffic heading across the city without stopping.  Our friends at Streetsblog reported on the project last month. Here’s the site plan (plan and rendering by SDG) as shown on the Lakeview Chamber website:

site plan

Placemaking, Net Positive for Drivers, too

We’ve heard rumblings of drivers already complaining about the project but, in fact, this undertaking is pretty much all upsides.  Consider this:

  • NO PARKING WAS REMOVED – the pedestrian bumpouts just protect the tow zone adjacent to the intersection)
  • NO DRIVING LANES WERE NARROWED – again, new painted areas simply extend the parking lane
  • NO RIGHT OR LEFT TURNS ARE PREVENTED – the cut through right turn lanes have been reclaimed, but drivers can still turn right as they would at a normal intersection
  • THE ROAD HAS BEEN RESURFACED – this intersection had been home to some of the most egregious potholes we’ve seen and is now smooth as glass.  You’re welcome, Drivers.

See: no traffic lanes (or bike lanes) have been reduced for the completion of this project!

street furniture 2 copy

Sneckdown Spotting for Painless Road Diets

How do we know these changes won’t negatively affect drivers?  Simple, we can see clearly that they aren’t using those edge-of-road areas by checking out the sneckdowns, or snow tire patterns, each winter.  From our blog post on the subject two years ago:  MAKE STREETS SMARTER WITH SNECKDOWN SPOTTING.


A Sneckdown is a Snowy Neckdown (or curb bumpout) – a term claimed by Aaron Naparstek of MIT’s Urban Studies and Planning Department, who was looking for a twitter hashtag to follow the phenomenon. To explore the idea for ourselves we gathered snapshots from a transect in Lakeview (specifically, one person’s walk to work) and then highlighted them for improvement potential.

Read all about it here or in this winter’s follow up post on streets and infrastructure maintenance: SLIM STREETS WITH SNECKDOWNS. We are tickled to see Lakeview experimenting with placemaking and other ways to make our neighborhood friendlier for all its residents and businesses.  We’ll keep an eye on the project and see how it goes.

Meanwhile, what do YOU think about the new Lincoln | Southport intersection.  


  • Geenius_at_Wrok

    Do they seriously intend to paint those dots on the street and sidewalk? Did they take a blow to the head? That’s the most hideous thing anyone’s proposed doing since the 1970s. I lived through the 1970s. I am not nostalgic for them.

  • Colin Cody

    There is one issue that could cause problems. I have experienced that drivers don’t feel comfortable using Wellington as 2 lanes. I hope drivers begin to feel more driving right next to someone because during the summer if you don’t have 2 lanes, 1 for left turners and 1 for right tuners, than the traffic is going to be backed up to Ashland.

    Do like the idea of using the space creatively since the church is so beautiful. Unfortunately, the business with the best view of the church is the funeral home. Pockets is trying to use their space, but some are leery of feeling projected out into traffic.

  • akay1

    NO RIGHT OR LEFT TURNS ARE PREVENTED – the cut through right turn lanes have been reclaimed, but drivers can still turn right as they would at a normal intersection

    This is misleading. While it’s true that cars can turn, the issue is that cars waiting to turn now cause backups of cars that are unable to pass them to continue straight. I’ve seen green lights where only two cars are able to trickle through.

    I used to take either Southport or Greenview south through this area several times per week; I’ve now shifted exclusively over to Greenview. In the past several weeks, I’ve noticed an increase of traffic on Greenview, which is a less safe place to shift that traffic as it’s a narrower and overwhelmingly residential street. I’d be interested to see statistics on traffic incidents on the streets being used to bypass this intersection, but can only hope that no one gets seriously injured. I make no excuses for the bad drivers who roll through the stop signs or speed on these side streets, but I am disappointed that the city would go out of its way to make a situation where that behavior is encouraged.

  • Planning Engineer

    This article is a complete unbalanced puff piece for the designers. The adjacent businesses HATE it. Ask the owners of the adjacent diners. Creating 50 square feet of reclaimed asphalt of 6 different corners in NOT place making. The three slip lanes being removed is a good thing BUT that needed to be done preserving a turn radius a car car/truck can make. If that was fixed and the awful paint was removed maybe it could be made better. Diverting cars from a major streets onto residential streets in NOT helping matters. This will also NOT create new business in the area either which is the goal of the chamber.