Chicago Department of Transportation
Located in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood, Argyle Shared Street is a shared-use, pedestrian-prioritizing streetscape that celebrates green infrastructure, accessibility, economic development, and encourages a sense of community for Uptown’s diverse residents, businesses, and institutions. Beginning in 2013, alongside community-wide initiatives to reinvigorate Uptown while keeping it affordable, the City of Chicago initiated the replacement of Argyle Street for a three-block area between North Broadway and Sheridan Road.
Through a collaborative design process led by Burns & McDonnell and site design group, ltd. with the Chicago Department of Transportation, it became clear that due to the scale and context of the streetscape, Argyle would be an excellent candidate for a forward-thinking “shared street” that prioritized the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit users while accommodating vehicles. The design creates a plaza-like feel by raising the street, eliminating raised curbs, and making the streetscape universally accessible.
The traditional “transportation pyramid” is inverted to prioritize pedestrians rather than vehicles. Bump-outs, narrower vehicle lanes, and the use of chicanes help users to utilize the street safely, not only by slowing down traffic, but by encouraging eye contact between users negotiating passage.
Varying unit paver patterns and colors define pedestrian-only from shared areas, including detectable warning pavers that delineate parking lanes. Contrasting colored pavers are used for crosswalks in the “shared area” – the portion of the roadway traditionally dedicated only to cars. Widened pedestrian-only areas provide room for sidewalk cafes and gathering.
The street features a number of sustainable elements, including energy efficient streetlights, permeable unit pavers, and raingarden infiltration planters that are designed to soak up rainwater and showcase native plants. Argyle is also one of four pilot projects in which a research team is monitoring the performance of green infrastructure. Sensors in the raingardens deliver real-time data about the effectiveness of the system, and are expected to provide valuable insights that will inform the design of future green infrastructure in Chicago.
Burns & McDonnell; Speedy Gonzalez Landscaping
Products used in the Built Project: Victor Stanley (Site Furnishings); Unilock (Pavers)