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Eye on the Ike - Sidewalk and Street Widths

Future widths of sidewalks and streets on the bridges crossing a reconstructed Eisenhower Expressway will be discussed at a Village Board study session scheduled for 7 p.m., Mon., April 27 in Village Hall, 123 Madison St. The discussion will not include other related topics, such as bridge deck widths or aesthetic treatments that will be discussed at future meetings. Residents are invited to watch the brief video posted below, review a comparison of proposed widths to the current widths and share a comment with the Village Board.

Comments may be posted on this page until noon, Mon., April 27, 2015.

Comments will be moderated and will not appear immediately. Comments expressed on this page do not reflect the opinions or positions of the Village of Oak Park municipal government or its officers and employees. However, Village staff may reply to comments to clarify information or provide details that may be requested in a post.

Sidewalk/Street Widths Background Video



Submitted by Anonymous on

The designs look beautiful, I would love to see our bridges and sidewalks this much wider and safer.

Submitted by Jim Kelly on

Wider sidewalks will be most welcome! The short video indicated that the 16' sidewalks would allow for amenities such as bike racks. There should also be shelters to protect from the elements people who exit the CTA and are waiting for a ride. The ramps to the Home Ave. bridge need to be longer and more gradual. The current sidewalks on the Lombard bridge are very high above the street, and the wheelchair ramps are awkwardly located. This is an opportunity to fix that.

Submitted by Jim Egeberg on

This is long overdue. I agree with the sidewalk width and design, especially the aspect of drop off areas for bus passengers. The wider sidewalks will improve safety greatly.

Submitted by John Neumann on

I've walked over the bridges many times that cross over 290 in Oak Park and they are much too narrow. To me it seems like a safety issue, even the video posted by the Village of Oak Park demonstrates numerous occasions where pedestrians are walking in the street to pass people.

Submitted by Charlie Yingling on

Wider is better! While we will likely never realize the dream of "capping the Ike," wider bridges will get us closer to a more connected north and south Oak Park.

Wider sidewalks will certainly be more aesthetically pleasing and safer for pedestrians, but they could also offer other amenities. This additional space could be used for permanent streetscape improvements such as Divvy bike share stations and art installations. Further, if designed appropriately, these widened spaces would create new small business opportunities such as space for coffee kiosks near the transit entrances.

These bridges serve both a practical and symbolic role in that they connect two halves of the community. So, let's showcase these connections by working with IDOT to invest in higher-end construction materials such as those used for the Marion and Pleasant districts downtown (e.g. pavers and stone sidewalks).

Submitted by Kyle on

Yes to wider sidewalks. But also the Home Ave bridge should be wider for two-way travel. It's also difficult for bicycles to navigate the turns on the south ramp (Garfield) and coming off the sidewalk to cross Harrison.

Submitted by Rob Cole on

As presently envisioned, the Home Avenue Ped/Bike bridge will be 14'wide, which is the standard for a large two-way multi-use path.

The present width averages only about 9.5 feet, compared to the proposed 14' width.

Submitted by Elizabeth T Rexford on

I welcome a better entrance for bikes at both ends of the Home Avenue Bridge. It's very difficult for me to negotiate the sharp turns on my bike as it is now.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Wider sidewalks for pedestrian safety and aesthetics would be great. Would this change the width of the road and make it narrower? This impediment to traffic would not be desirible especially at Harlem and Austin. Also getting strollers and kids bikes up and down the curb at Oak Park ave is quite difficult.

Submitted by Rob Cole on

No, road widths are not being narrowed. In fact, some, like Lombard, are being widened just a bit to allow a driver to pick-up or drop-off Blue Line riders without obstructing other vehicles passing by.

Accessibility improvements are planned for the project, as well. Thus, infrastructure elements like curb cuts on Oak Park Avenue, etc., will be ADA accessible.

Submitted by Marlene on

The plans as addressed in th video look great and will benefit everyone and beautify the overpasses. The Home Ave bridge is in terrible condition. Hope these improvements start soon.

Submitted by David Moehring on

The video reveals the unsafe environment of the existing Eisenhower Expressway overpasses. Let's not be shy in planning for the next 60 years with minimums that compomise these safety and liveability concerns. Anyone who crosses the on-off ramps at sidewalks of Harlem and Austin should be concerned for the adolescents focused on their digital media rather than the vehicles rushing by. I'd advocate additional vehicle drop-off and cab stand widths of 60-ft each at any bridge that has a transit station. Further, the ability to provide grab-and-go retail (food, beverage, laundry services, DVD rental, etc...) must also be planned for yielding overall crossings ranging from 140 to 200 ft in width at the major crossings. I echo Kyle on expanding 2-way lanes for bikes and pedestrians (and pets)on the Home bridge; and would also suggest planning for dedicated bike lanes on all bridges rather than planning for shared bike lanes.

Submitted by Lisa McKenna on

We live south of the expressway. My children attend Ascension School and they walk over the East Avenue bridge to and from school. We would love to see new concrete replace the damaged, hazardous old concrete, and a wider sidewalk would be ideal. We often have to walk single file if there is an oncoming pedestrian and the overpasses are quite congested when we travel, around 8 am, so this is often the case. I remind my kids to walk closest to the wall portion of the bridge and not accommodate a full sidewalk by stepping into the street. They're savvy kids but a mother worries. A broader sidewalk for all bridges would not only look better, it's just safer. That alone is worth it.

Submitted by April on

It sounds good. Maybe the wider bridges will make the expansion of the expressway appear less intrusive.

Submitted by Steve Brown on

The increased widths are a great improvement, provided they are coupled with geometric changes to the ramp crossings that make them less dangerous to pedestrians.

One thing I'd recommend is to include physical separation between the sidewalk and moving traffic, such as bollards or planters along the curb, and/or several feet of shoulder outside the travel lane. This will contribute to a greater sense of safety among pedestrians crossing these bridges.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Wider sidewalks promotes safety, business, and access. This is a good gesture towards positive development and will show everyone Oak Park pride! More plants and planters the better!

Submitted by Ray Johnson on

Wider sidewalks and clearly defined pedestrian crosswalks are very important to pedestrian safety. Further, incorporating bike lanes as a mode of transport across the bridges and crosswalks will enhance mobility for wider segment of users. I think its equally important to keep in mind people with disabilities may need more time to cross streets and have sufficient ramp design which won't impede their movement. My final thought is that wider bridges at key areas can assist in mitigating the I-290 expansion (i.e., a wider bridge and sidewalk at Austin Blvd. which could connect Barrie and Columbus Park and create an important gateway to the city and suburbs, or reconnecting the commercial district at Oak Park Ave. -- as was done with a similar project in Columbus, Ohio).

Submitted by Frank Heitzman on

Sidewalks on each side of the vehicular bridges should be a minimum of 10 feet wide at their narrowest entry points, gently broadening to 16 or 20 feet at the center of the bridge to allow vistas along the direction of travel and impart a distinctive 3-dimensional sculptural look to these special features of our village's infrastructure.

Submitted by Robin de Bled on

I second the comment by Steve Brown regarding separation between pedestrians and traffic. Bollards or low concrete planters would vastly increase the safety (or at least perceived safety) of the pedestrians. Gaps could be provided at pickup/dropoff points.

Some visual separation and sound barrier from the expressway below would also be a welcome addition. Pedestrians walking over the bridge would find it much more pleasant if the noise from the roadway below was muffled by shrubs or more permanent installations.

These features and many of the other good ideas presented in the video and in these comments would be possible with wider sidewalks and I fully support them. The existing crossings were clearly designed for cars with other users as an afterthought. The replacement crossings will be in use for a long time and must give more weight to the needs and safety concerns of pedestrians of all all abilities, as well as cyclists.

Submitted by Joanne Guennewig on

Wider sidewalks will be great. Especially at the El entrances and exits on Harlem and Austin! I always worry. When I exit and turn in front of them that someone will jump into the road.

Submitted by Michelle Amato on

Looks great however how with this affect the homes adjacent to these bridges. I live near the East Ave Bridge on Harrison. Will there be a a road going into my buildings courtyard?!?! Every time I ask this question it gets ignored.

Submitted by Mark Burger on

The proposed changes are a vast improvement over the present situation.

Submitted by Mark Gartland on

I think the widening of the sidewalks is very important, and I think the video was helpful in showing what it would look like. I often see people getting off the sidewalks on the bridges in town(and stepping into live traffic) when someone in a wheelchair, young kids on bikes, or strollers are going by, there just isn't enough room to share.

I also think the transitions from Garfield to the bridges need to be looked at, especially at the East Ave. and Lombard Ave. bridges, they can be very precarious to navigate safely, especially for young kids. Thanks.

Submitted by Elizabeth T Rexford on

I agree! The sidewalks need to be larger and more convenient for pedestrians.

Submitted by Anon on

I like the plans. Have wider sidewalks like this been built elsewhere in Chicagoland? I would like to have a look at them. As others have suggested, I would like to see plantings and greenery to help this areas feel less like vast stretches of barren concrete.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Would love to see wider sidewalks on the bridges. Room for benches, and bike racks would be wonderful. Would really like to see the home Ave bridge ramps made wider, and easier to navigate by bike.

Submitted by Cathy Yen on

Will the bridge at the OP El stop need to be narrowed to two lanes from the current four? We may want to consider stop signs or lights at Lexington and OP Ave as well as Van Buren and OP Ave as traffic can already be congested during commuter hours.