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Chicago Avenue Corridor Plan

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Chicago Avenue Corridor Recommendations Report (2000)

Chicago Avenue is the major north-south commercial arterial traversing eastern Evanston, as well as a gateway to and from Chicago. It also links several of Evanston’s commercial areas, including the eastern edge of downtown and two neighborhood shopping districts at Main and Dempster Streets. Its adjacent neighborhoods are home to a diverse mixture of age groups, economic levels, cultures, and careers living in a broad spectrum of housing types. Most importantly, it parallels and provides direct vehicular and pedestrian access to Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) rapid transit (three stations), Metra commuter rail (one station) and both Pace and CTA bus routes.

Following a two year neighborhood planning process, the City adopted the Chicago Avenue Corridor Recommendations Report in 2000. Its purpose is to guide future redevelopment and to promote compatible economic development. Recommended actions include: providing a vision of the corridor and marketing it to developers; preserving and enhancing the retail nodes near Main and Dempster Streets; encouraging redevelopment to provide a higher tax base for the City; and improving the safety and walkability of the pedestrian areas, particularly those serving mass transportation.

Two major outcomes of the report were the City’s approval of a plan to renovate the Chicago Avenue Streetscape and the subsequent development of related engineering plans for the street segment between Greenleaf Street and South Boulevard.

West Side Neighborhood Planning – Canal-Green Bay Road/Ridge Avenue-Church Street Recommendations Report (2005)
This neighborhood planning effort began in 2000 and was guided by the Neighborhood Committee of the Evanston Plan Commission. The defining question for this process was “How can Evanston encourage compatible growth and investment to economically strengthen this area, while also envisioning a more livable and vibrant neighborhood for its diverse residents?” In pursuing the answers to this question, the Committee was guided by the following principles:

• To understand problems/issues in the study area from the standpoint of all stakeholders;
• To improve the quality of life within these neighborhoods by envisioning and creating a more vibrant area for families, individuals, and local businesses; and
• To foster an environment where a diversity of people, interests, and activities can coexist and feel a mutual sense of pride, while honoring the historic African-American heritage of this area.

The three-year consultation and planning process resulted in a final report that identifies community concerns and issues, examines the opportunities presented by redevelopment projects, and presents action items. It outlines the following six priority issues, each having related goals, objectives, and actions: 1) Economic Development; 2) Urban Design, Community Character & Zoning; 3) Public Infrastructure, Services, Streets & Transportation; 4) Housing; 5) Public Safety & Community Cohesion; and 6) Youth.. The report was approved by the Plan Commission in 2004 and adopted by the City Council in 2005.

View the Chicago Avenue Corridor Plan.