Neighborhood Survey Results: Reimagining Clark Street (Between Ridge & Devon)

If you are curious about some of the neighbor’s responses to the survey last week, we have included them below.

The two questions asked were:

(1) How would you like to see Clark Street improved between Ridge & Devon? (if at all)

(2) What type of urban design or other solutions would you propose to help get us there?

You can also add your own ideas here:

Thanks for taking the survey so we can all see our neighborhood’s different ideas for how we can improve Clark Street (or keep it as is)

(1) How would you like to see Clark Street improved between Ridge & Devon? (if at all)

“More trees, more walking friendly sidewalks, bike lanes instead of double lane traffic for cars”

“No more car dealerships or garages. Hopefully more restaurants & shops :)”

“Fewer vacant storefronts. Bike lanes. Easier and safer ways for both pedestrians to cross between current lights and traffic from e-w streets to turn left onto Clark”

“Why do we have an interstate highway between Gethsemanie & Clark Devon Hardware? It would be wonderful to have a walkable, public transit oriented street with viable businesses in them. The boarded up shops and constant stream of 32,000 cars a day (did I see that figure on the traffic volumes layer of your Edgewater map?) make the street a total eyesore for the neighborhood.”

“I’d love to see it as an extension of Andersonville but with its own unique character. Basically, a focus on local businesses while also filling some of the gaps that the neighborhood doesn’t currently have. I’d LOVE to see a small movie theater in the area, for example.”

“More stores and restaurants. Fewer auto body shops and parking lots.”

“More restaurants with outdoor cafe’s.  Live music venue.”

“It is a difficult spot for walking, but a great restaurant with parking would be good. Miss the Carson’s (and before that, the Town and Country).”

“Would love a mom & pop gym to re-open with Know No Limits gone. Would love to have some good dining there to compliment Alexander’s and other places.”

“More shopping or browsing-friendly businesses.  Many of the occupied storefronts are not inviting.  The plumbing company in the 6200 block and travel agency in the 6300 are good example of that.  As is the oversized phone store in the 6400 block.  Also the junk store just south of Fritzy Tavern. It never seems to be open.”

“Restaurants.  Sauce and Bread is a wonderful addition to the street!”

“It would be great to get this street narrowed down.  Clark is a narrow street north of bosworth and south of Edgewater, why must be so wide in this spot?  Is it just because Ashland is wide?  Well Ashland stops being wide up north too and most traffic diverts over to Ridge/Peterson anyways. Right?”

“Does the firestation need such a big empty parking lot?  What purpose does that real estate serve?”

“What’s to improve, unless it’s considered unsafe?  I like it the way it is.”

“I would like to see fewer auto repair places and more stores/restaurants similar to Andersonville.”

“Less car business and more pedestrian friendly commerce. Restaurants etc”

“There are so many car repair shops and run down buildings with nothing of value in the windows. They make the streets look like a dump site.”

“We need more business like the ones in Andersonville. A Starbuck coffee shop, a clothing boutique, a pet shop, etc.”

“I would love for the Clark St. corridor to be more pedestrian-friendly.  A five-lane (plus a left turn lane) road is really difficult to cross, and not pleasant to walk along.”

“Calm it down. People aren’t interested in going or lingering there because its like a highway.”

“The automobile industry is a bit overwhelming.  I think more industry for pedestrians can walk to.  coffee shops or anything to draw the Andersonville theme to our end. Also make the business owners clean up their area.  This means parkways and streets in front of their business. The city of Chicago can not be there constantly.”

“Shrinking the width of Clark street in this stretch. Adding new businesses that attract people in the area to walk or bike to “north Clark”. Losing the auto themed businesses in the area. Adding more apartment building to the stretch as well”

“More business. Visible bike lane. Protected bike lanes and a bicycle corral. Park on west side of clark”

“The aesthetic could be more friendly and welcoming to pedestrians.”

“It would be great to upgrade and increase the dining, shopping, and entertainment,  Turn the area into entertainment district like the southern neighbor Andersonville.”

“restaurants ( with outdoor seating)and non auto shops”

“Well for starters, PAVE/REBUILD the surface!!! Repair sidewalks if necessary. Paint lane lines and crosswalks. Force business owners to keep their properties litter free (for example, fine them if they don’t) Put garbage cans on each side of Clark at every cross street. Try to get some kind of grocer (full service, produce store, etc).so that more people will be attracted to it for everyday needs.”

“Plant trees on sidewalks and median. Any street looks better with trees.”

“I would love to see a mixture of boutique like shops/food and higher end staple stores. For example, I would like some places to shop for clothes, preferably “higher” end stores like or similar to Ann Taylor, Anthropology, Lululemon, or Loft. I would also like a coffee/tea independently owned shop, as well as other staple food places like Great American Bagel, that are boutique like, not super mass-produced and on the healthy side. Absolutely no lower end fast food like McDonalds, etc. Perhaps a place for kids like an indoor swimming pool (for lessons and open swim). Also we need a ped walk on Glenlake. Too far to walk to Peterson or Granville to cross when you are in the middle. Make the empty building on Glenlake next to the Futsol into something useful.”

“cleaner sidewalks, standing/responsible businesses, shut down nuisance buildings, add bike lanes southbound to Andersonville”

“Dedicated bike lanes. Decrease width of street.”

“no one is EVER going to spend time of the street here. it is a superhighway with traffic lights dividing east from west. slow the damn traffic down and invite folks to actually use the sidewalks and patronize businesses.”

“It would be great to attract restaurants. And with the number of families around- some family friendly would be excellent. Also possibly a coffee shop. Even a few shops.”

“There needs to be a way to slow down traffic. It is very fast right now.”

“The bike lane ends at the Edgewater street. It should be marked and extended as far north as possible.  The street is ridiculously wide and actually could accommodate a protected bike lane. There is a remarkable and potentially attractive street wall variously on the east and west sides of the street that should be preserved and commercially exploited.”

“Automotive uses such as the blighted muffler shop at Clark and Glenlake should be curtailed.”

“The special service area (SSA) should extended up from Glenwood and Devon and wrapped around Clark to Ridge.  This would generate funds for improvements.”

“I would love to see more restaurants like in Andersonville spread north on Clark street. Andersonville has quite a few new restaurants opening and there is no reason why that entire stretch of great shopping, eating, etc. cannot continue to keep moving north on Clark. You shouldn’t have to visit the theatre and then walk to Andersonville or drive to find a good and nice place to eat.”

“Many buildings look like they need a facelift as that section just looks old and somewhat rundown. Too many used cars for sale lots as well. That entire stretch of Clark street could look absolutely great.”

“First fix the road I hate to drive on Granville.”

“The corner of Clark and Devon used to be beautiful (circa 1910:  However, the widening of Clark necessitated the demolition of the building on the NE corner.  This stretch of Clark needs to have its integrity restored so that it feels more pedestrian friendly.  Right now there are vast swaths with parking, car dealerships, and gas stations that only serve automobile drivers.  This stretch needs to be more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.”

“Today the intersection is too wide and the sidewalks are too narrow to accommodate the many people waiting for transportation connections.  Thankfully we have many bus routes that converge on the corner (which is great).  However, the tiny sidewalks become too congested with pedestrians and people waiting.  The 6 lanes of traffic spanning Clark Street to the south of Devon are too wide.  Pushing out the sidewalk in front of the Diner would make the area much more pedestrian friendly.”

“It should be made more walkable.”

“It would be terrific to see it transformed from a space that is primarily for automobiles and little about pedestrians to something that flips those proportions around and becomes mostly about pedestrians and little (or perhaps even nothing at all) about automobiles.  Chicago suffers from an immense traffic problem as our city becomes more densely populated.  We need to be creating disincentives for people to drive and instead make it more convenient to utilize alternative forms of transport.”

“Right now it is blatantly obvious that it was designed in favor of the automobile rather than walking and bicycling included. Autos take advantage of it by speeding and making it dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. Also, some greenery would be nice. Make it tree lined, add landscaping, extend the curbs.”

“Seems like business are more come & go north of Peterson Ave.  Would love to see a business succeed and stay in this stretch- maybe this way there would be more obvious care put into the buildings.  Have spoken with many neighbors about how lovely it would be to have a coffee shop north of Peterson.  The vacant space for Lease on the corner of Clark and Elmdale would be such an incredible location.”

“Hoping that Andersonville will continue moving northbound, so that there will be restaurants and cafes on this stretch.  I don’t mean White Castle and Dunkin Donuts!”

“Clark Street does not run between Ridge & Devon. Clark runs North and South as does Ridge. Devon runs East and West. So there is the Clark and Devon intersection and the Devon and Ridge intersection. So I don’t understand what section of Clark Street you mean.”

(2) What type of urban design or other solutions would you propose to help get us there?

“I think the width of the street is intimidating for foot traffic. I’ve always thought a PERFECT solution would be to have angled parking (like downtown Evanston)@the least from Granville to Devon. We’ve been told that Clark St would never be narrowed, however, it is such a small part of Clark street that is so wide…It would make pedestrian traffic safer-especially for all of the children that walk to & from school every day! It would also increase available parking if it were angled.”

“Vest-pocket parks on the sites of now-vacant buildings. (One storefront’s been vacant since 2001). More & nicer center planted “neutral ground”/safety islands, perhaps with benches and dual walk signals (pedestrian-controlled)–make it safer for people, especially seniors, who take the bus. New buildings should be 4 stories or lower, with green-roofs.”

“Well the street is wide enough, you name it! Bike lanes? Ashland Bus Rapid Transit extension? Streetscaping? You could still probably fit four lanes of cars and still have plenty of room for all of that.”

“Maybe a green space or plaza that would attract more foot traffic. Some prominent bike corrals and nicer bus stop shelters could help, too. Maybe some more trees or expanded sidewalks could reduce a little of the noise of walking along that part of Clark.”

“The car cleaning places need some traffic calming when lines of cars are there. Maybe a traffic person making sure it doesn’t bottle-neck right there.”

“Let’s not put more residential on Clark; it feels like a consumer / shopping corridor. How do we essentially make a “northern Andersonville”?”

“Re-purpose the unused parking lot north of the fire station.  No one ever parks there and it is a concrete eyesore. The empty lot at the SE corner of Thome is an eyesore.  Develop it as a small park or maybe an urban garden.”

“Once the street is narrowed we could build out on the empty lots similar storefronts to what we see in Andersonville and Rogers Park.  Buildings that come up to the street with commercial space on the ground and residential space above.”

“Encourage businesses to move into the area-can zoning be changed?  Not sure how this could be done.”

“Bring some of the types of shops found in Andersonville.”

“What about closing one side of N. Clark to traffic and turning it into a pedestrian area?  We could host food trucks, a larger farmers market, etc. New York City closed most of Times Square, and the traffic implications were not as bad as people thought they would be.  With the wide sidewalks, a parking lane, a bike lane, two lanes of traffic, and the current planted median, there would be a ton of real estate reclaimed for pedestrians.”

“Green spaces that shield the view and noise of the traffic. Take a couple empty parking lots and green them or open them up.”

“Road diet similar to Lawrence in between Damen and Western. Tax credit or TIF incentives for new businesses”

“I would like to see planters added along the sidewalk on both sides.  also, trash cans to help reduce litter. The facades of many of the business on the west side could use a refresh.  Perhaps a bench between Fritzy’s and Alexanders.”

“The area need to be more pedestrian friendly with improved sidewalks and additional crosswalks.  Also, adding/extending the tree lined median would be a great add.”

“Some wider sidewalks, more places to cross the street.”

“Slow the traffic on this strip!! Perhaps angled parking, but we can do “”no parking”” in the morning from 8-9am, which seems to be the only time that there is any sort of back-up there. Also I suggest some nice fixtures to make the area more walkable, like plants and really nice lighting. The NEW (Neighbors of Edgewater West) group has a survey that they have sent out that talks a lot about this topic. The Alderman should contact us for more info!!”

“gotta narrow the street even more. take it from two lanes & parking in each direction to one. maybe the BRT or separated bike lanes instead?”

“Offering incentives to shop or purchase. More active the street more will want to purchase. Would like to continue it from Andersonville – north. A similar vibe. An ice cream shop or two.”

“Trees, Greenery make a busy street calmer and more inviting. YOu see less concrete. Pretty up the existing businesses.”

“WE can’t do anything without the firm commitment and support of Alderman Osterman.  We need unequivocal support from him. I think the Edgewater Chamber and Edgewater Development Corp already support these ideas.”

“Would be nice to see an outdoor market section; more restaurants; outdoor cafes; less used car lots; less folks working on their cars at Autozone, really great plantings in the flowerbeds as opposed to bushes that you can’t see the traffic over; better storefronts; shopping, etc.”

“Better lighting and fancier nightlights as I see in some other areas of the city.”

“This section could look phenomenal. Broadway really took off and is growing and continues northward……now it’s time for Clark to do the same. Just a few thoughts done quickly what came to mind.”

“- Ashland BRT should extend all of the way up to Devon.  The 155 bus route is a vital artery serving east-west traffic.  Having a linkage here is critical.

– Wider sidewalks down both sides of Clark street.

– Wider sidewalks to accommodate bus passengers waiting for connections at Clark and Devon.

“Large bus shelters with bus times at all 4 points of the intersection”

“A pop-up park or outdoor dining on the east side of the street (both south and north of Devon).”

“Eliminate/reduce areas that are focused solely on the automobile (gas station, parking, car dealerships).  While we don’t want to turn away any businesses that are currently contributing to our community and our economic health, decisions can be made to make this stretch more pedestrian friendly and interesting.  For instance, the empty car dealership on the east side of the street should be rezoned to be something other than a car dealership or an auto repair shop.   This has the fringe benefit of helping Park View Motors have less competition in the area.”

“Pedestrian overpass at Clark/Ridge intersection.”

“Green spaces; various commercial (local shops, restaurants, small local grocery, pubs, hardware, etc — no chains!); light-rail public transport (no more buses); well-lighted pedestrian-permeable pathways throughout the corridor; low-rise residential (e.g. flats).”

“First of all, automobile traffic is way too fast in this area and there are a lot more pedestrians and cyclists present than your average auto commute roadway. This needs to be addressed by taking away lanes or extending sidewalks and greenery which goes into my second point; perhaps some kind of road diet (look it up). Right now it is clear that the strip is designed primarily for automobile traffic. It needs to get the same treatment that Broadway got in Uptown. Take away lanes if needed but there should be maximum-scale bicycle lanes and extended curbs for protecting pedestrians. It should be a real community artery that takes care of travelers of all modes rather than a sprawled suburb road built on the back of automobile dependency.”

“Thinking of Clark Street North of Ridge, I just picture asphalt– between the brake shop, the parking lot for the Estadio grill, the bank parking lot, the car lots….  It just isn’t beautiful.  I would love to see more greenery— more care taken in the median planters and TREES IN THE PARKWAYS!!!”

“As a mother,  living North of Peterson and West of Clark– I always find myself taking huge detours to avoid the Ridge, Peterson intersection. I feel strongly that something needs to be done to slow the traffic down as it moves from Clark to Ridge and then to Peterson.  The speed of the turning cars is DANGEROUS.  A big, wide crosswalk would be lovely!”

Please Note: This is a completely unofficial & informal neighborhood survey intended to generate different ideas from the neighbors. There is plenty of room in the neighborhood for different ideas and opinions. If you find yourself about to have an internet troll freak out moment — try to chill. These are just ideas and these are your neighbors 🙂

Again, you can also add your own innovative ideas to the survey here:

4 Thoughts

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