Placemaking on Lincoln: Listening to Sneckdowns

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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.

WHAT IS A SNECKDOWN?

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.