Initial Details Revealed For 79th Street Streetscape Improvements In Auburn Gresham

Cross section of 79th street with bike lanes via CDOT

Initial details and a community feedback survey have been revealed for upcoming renovations to the 79th Street corridor in Auburn Gresham. As part of the greater Invest South/West initiative that is also bringing two multi-unit buildings nearby, the project aims to refresh an area of W 79th Street from S Fielding Avenue to S Paulina Street and a smaller section of S Halsted Street from W 78th Street to W 80th Street. The plan was unveiled at a recent community meeting and is being led by Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) with Spaan Tech Inc, Jacobs Engineering Group, and Site Design Group among others.

Site context map of 79th street with CTA connections via CDOT

With a large variety of retail on the strip and serving as a major arterial road for the neighborhood, the project will improve the existing infrastructure with a full width resurfacing, drainage improvements, new sidewalks, curbs and gutters, increased pedestrian safety, ADA ramps and crosswalks, new street lighting, pavement markings, signage, traffic signals, and potentially paver walkways. Further streetscape work may include improvements to side streets, site furniture, and seating areas, light pole and gateway identifiers, new trees, and upgrades to the existing viaduct for the new Metra Station.

Current (top) street cross-section and proposed (bottom) section with extended curbs via CDOT

Work on the project commenced in spring 2021 and is now gearing up to complete its final design after having its second round table meeting last month, another community meeting and presentation of the final concept is expected by summer of 2022. The current project survey, which can be accessed here, allows users to select what character they’d like to see, with options like historic or playful/active, options for light pole identifiers whether they be with patterns and text or a repeated pattern, and also options for monumental identifiers including options for framed gateways or sidewalk planters.

Most popular options for neighborhood gateway and street pole signage via CDOT

With many concerns brought up by locals during the last meeting, the most common being pedestrian safety and traffic congestion, the team feels ready to continue the design process on the improvements. Construction is expected to begin by the fourth quarter of 2022 with its completion expected towards the end of 2024.

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