Traffic is due to slow down on Argyle Street, but not because of construction. By July, the Uptown street known for great Vietnamese restaurants will become the city’s first shared street. This means no more barriers, curbs, signs or signals. Instead, expect a calm plaza-like atmosphere for all traffic—on foot, four wheels or two. The European-style design aims to promote community by converting a busy street into one where everyone interacts.
The plan for the Argyle Streetscape, between North Broadway and North Sheridan Road, includes wide sidewalks at street level. Instead of a curb, the sidewalk’s end is marked by colored pavement. Clusters of trees will divert traffic and slow vehicles to 10mph. Parking is limited, but cyclists get six new bike racks. The goal is to create a space where people spend time and to build on the existing night markets and Chinese New Year celebrations, says CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld.
The hope is that, without barriers and signals, it will encourage pedestrians and drivers to communicate person-to-person, according to Gary Toth, director at Project for Public Spaces and a leader in the streetscape design movement.