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Improve Conditions Under the Expressway + Railroad Viaduct

Chicago, IL
Improve Conditions Under the Expressway + Railroad Viaduct

Massive infrastructure above makes the environment inhospitable and, many times, treacherous for pedestrians and bicyclists below. This affects those traveling along Ashland Avenue, Cortland Street, and Armitage Avenue. Upkeep and cosmetic changes could help, but maybe there are greater opportunities if considered as part of a larger Ashland / Elston intersection and Clybourn Metra Station rework / redevelopment plan.

What would you do to improve these areas under the expressway and railroad lines?

Related topics:
Robert Eischen Skokie, IL

1. Clean up the area. 2. Make a thorough engineering study of the walls, supporting structures, electrical and drain pipes to insure that it will all be sustained for a long time to come. 3. When done, invite organizations such as schools to decorate with good art work throughout the areas.

Dave Stanford Chicago, IL

Also, sightlines under the expressway are short, making the crossing more dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Michelle Stenzel Chicago, IL

This intersection has been named by the Active Transportation Alliance as one of the top 20 most dangerous in the city for pedestrians and definitely needs help! It will be the northernmost terminal for the Ashland BRT. What we need at every leg of this sprawling intersection is very safe crosswalks and bike lanes that link people from the Clybourn Metra station to the Ashland BRT stop to Divvy stations and to protected bike lanes on Cortland. This would need more than just paint on the asphalt, but rather wide sidewalks, curb extensions, raised crosswalks, leading pedestrian signals, as well as traffic-calming measures.

Better lighting, better sight lines for drivers, and cleanliness are my top 3. I've often thought there must be a good way to use mirrors to bring in more natural light to underpasses. The tightly spaced vertical supports on Ashland are especially disruptive to driver sight lines and often cause me to proceed with caution as a cyclist. I also ride the Metra daily and there is often lots of bird poop, garbage, human waste, and more caking the sidewalks on Ashland and Cortland.

More greenery would also be appreciated. The sliver between the Kennedy and Metra lines visible at the NW corner of the intersection is a relief. This could also improve human health by acting as a biofilter for the air pollution coming from all three sources at this intersection (car traffic on roads, highway, and Metra).

Allan Mellis Chicago, IL

If you put lipstick on a pig, it will still be a pig

Luis Monterrubio Chicago, IL

It is a really important transit center for the neighborhood, this organizations should work with Metra, the Wicker Park-Bucktown SSA and the Alderman to clean up the intersection (at the viaduct level and at the Metra platform level), pay for en engineering assessment of the structure and reactivate the area by engaging the surrounding businesses. I used to live nearby, currently I pass everyday by the Metra station.

Roland Solinski Chicago, IL

The viaduct may be grotty and crumbling, but I believe the poor sightlines actually make things safer by keeping everyone on their toes. Ashland has a kink just north of the Metra overpass, and you have to avoid the columns in the street, so you can't just blast through as a driver. I would honestly argue for cosmetic and structural repairs, with only minor tweaks to the design (maybe some rumble strips on southbound Ashland?)

Brad Rosset Chicago, IL

I grew up in this area and still live in Chicago. I always thought the Metra station area was being under utilized. Now with the trail being opened it takes on more importance to be utilized

James Considine Chicago,

Autos speed along Ashland too quickly without having any site lines. Slowing traffic, improved ped/bike safety, add lighting, new paint, clean up the area and fix the sidewalks.

Allan Mellis Chicago, IL

The viaduct needs to be torn down and rebuilt, as a clear span, with adequate lighting, security cameras and visible traffic signals.

Doug Bacon Chicago, IL

Don't let the long-term perfect be the enemy of the good. In the near term, the City should prioritize filling any potholes in that area and keeping them filled. Lighting should also be improved. The lousy condition of the pavement coupled with poor lighting is treacherous for cyclists, and doubly so because if a biker goes down a car might not seen her in time to stop. I totally agree with all the above suggestions but the scope of those fixes should not be allowed to delay interim improvements.

Michael Howland Chicago,

Candy-cane arches like those of the Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba would brighten this blight.

Michael Howland Chicago,

If we're keeping the arches, I've often thought they'd look good repainted like the candy-cane arches of the Cordoba Mosque-Cathedral.