Chicago Streetscapes

Chicago Streetscapes

Location: Chicago

Client: Chicago Department of Transportation

Completion Date: 2011

The Chicago Department of Transportation, Streetscape and Urban Design Group, contracted with Burns & McDonnell for streetscape redesign services, including feasibility studies, design engineering services, landscape improvements, sidewalks and lighting. Several projects, sited in classic north side Chicago neighborhoods, feature new sidewalks, lighting and urban green space to improve aesthetics, reduce stormwater runoff, aid in the redevelopment of the corridor and enhance the pedestrian experience.

111th Street Streetscape Feasibility Study

Burns & McDonnell developed an engineering and streetscape feasibility study and phasing plan for 111thStreet from Sacramento Avenue to Pulaski Road in the Mount Greenwood neighborhood. The length of the improvements is approximately 6,300 feet. The project is focused on enhancing the hardscape, streetscape and landscape features to improve the overall aesthetics through this classic Chicago neighborhood. The study is slated for completion in 2011.

North Avenue Streetscape Design

Burns & McDonnell provided Phase II design engineering services for the urban landscape and streetscape design of North Avenue, a major east-west arterial. The project included streetscape and landscape improvements to a 1,000-foot section of North Avenue between Cicero and Kilpatrick avenues on Chicago's northwest side. The project focused on enhancing the streetscape and landscape features to improve the overall pedestrian experience. Design was complete in 2007, and construction was complete in 2011.

  • Streetscape study
  • Landscape architecture
  • Urban design
  • Public involvement
  • Sidewalk and parkway improvements
  • Roadway widening and resurfacing
  • Streetscaping
  • Ornamental lighting
  • Community identification
  • Sustainable design
  • Sidewalk cafés
  • Preparation of plans, specifications and estimates

111th Street Streetscape Feasibility Study

The goals included gathering information about the existing streetscape, landscape and hardscape infrastructure, analyzing the information, and determining potential deficiencies; and developing a feasibility study and phasing plan that outlines opportunities to improve the aesthetics and functionality of the corridor. The study includes the following key elements:

  • Examination of the infrastructure, such as sidewalk, ADA ramps, lighting, curb and gutter, streetscape elements, landscaping and open space, and roadway condition
  • Analysis of existing parking accommodations, pedestrian and bicycle movements, and vehicular traffic patterns
  • Development of community identification, in the form of light pole banner or logo, sidewalk medallions, and vertical identifiers or monuments
  • Development of a detailed construction cost estimate and phasing plan based on funding availability

North Avenue Streetscape Design

This initiative included improvements to the existing sidewalk and curb and gutter; upgraded landscaping including concrete planters and trees in grates; detailed design of 12 ADA crosswalk ramps; stamped asphalt pavement crosswalks; utility adjustments and relocation; installation of Chicago Gateway 2000 ornamental lighting; and coordination with the Alderman, including community meeting activities.

Landscape and Streetscape Improvements: Several existing trees were determined to be in poor condition by the Chicago Department of Forestry. These trees and/or stumps were removed to enhance the landscape. Due to the narrow width of the existing sidewalk, grassy parkways with parkway trees were not appropriate for the North Avenue design. Where possible, trees in grates were added to the corridor. Shade trees were also added to grassy parkways along Keating and Kilpatrick from North Avenue to the alleyway. Shade tree species included maple, elm, honeylocust, linden and oak trees.

Four above-ground planters, ranging from 8 feet by 10 feet to 12 feet square, were designed at the intersections with Keating and Kilpatrick avenues. Ornamental fencing will be installed with the concrete planters to minimize maintenance needs. The planters were equipped with irrigation systems. Plant species included shrubs, ornamental grasses and perennials.

Due to the narrowness of the existing sidewalk, extensive streetscape features did not fit in the North Avenue design. All existing sidewalk and curb and gutter was replaced, with ramps in compliance with current Chicago ADA standards. Minor roadway improvements included modification of the curb line along North Avenue, concrete lane replacement along Kilpatrick Avenue, and resurfacing of the parking lanes and side streets. The existing lighting system was removed in favor of the Chicago Gateway 2000 poles.

The project was presented to and approved by the Mayor's Landscape Task Force. Additional public involvement included three community meetings with the Alderman and local business owners.

  • Existing streetscape, landscape and hardscape infrastructure analysis
  • Feasibility study and phasing plans
  • Parking analysis
  • Traffic analysis
  • Construction cost estimates
  • Sidewalks
  • Curb and gutter
  • Street lighting
  • Community identification
  • Landscape plantings
  • Crosswalk ramps
  • Government and community coordination