The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has announced that the organization is putting the Windy City’s roads on a diet. In order to create what the Chicago Tribune is calling, “a more inclusive approach to traffic management” CDOT is planning to remove two lanes from Lawrence Avenue between Western Avenue and Ashland Avenue. The proposal calls for eliminating one lane in each direction and installing a continuous left turn lane.
By removing one lane in each direction CDOT will allow for an expansion of sidewalks in the area as well as the inclusion of separate bike lanes and in-street islands in crosswalks for pedestrians. CDOT’s plan also calls for planting of 150 trees, increasing lighting, and available benches. Despite possible increases to Lincoln Square residents and visitors’ quality of life the biggest argument for trimming Lawrence Avenue down is safety. Taking four lane roadways down to three lanes can result in a 19 to 47 percent reduction in crashes, depending on context and site characteristics, states a June 2010 summary report from the Federal Highway Administration.