CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s Lincoln Avenue has been named one of the five great streets in the county, a part of the American Planning Association’s list of the top greatest places in America.
American Planning Association President Cynthia Bowen said Lincoln Avenue’s mix of vehicular and pedestrian traffic, along with meeting places, are the result of very forward thinking by the community in the 1970s.
“Communities weren’t thinking about how do we narrow our roadways, so they went ahead and did that. They put Lincoln Avenue on a road diet, reduced the number of lanes to build wider sidewalks that would accommodate pedestrians and cyclists,” she said.
In the late 1970s, Lincoln Avenue between Montrose Avenue and Lawrence Avenue reduced to one lane for each direction. Because of that change, the avenue kept its “vibrancy and unique character amid regional economic shifts precisely because of its bustling pedestrian activity” over the decades since, the American Planning Association said.
Lincoln Avenue became the main street of Lincoln Square in the late 1990s when Giddings Plaza was built. The avenue is now home to locally-owned shops and restaurants. The ornamental gateways are a popular picture for Instagram post. And as a bonus, the area features several Divvy bikeshare stations, a nearby L station and many major bus routes.
Bowen said Lincoln Avenue has been so successful, it has served as the model for similar developments in cities across the country.
The 2017 list for the five great streets in the county included Congress Street in Tuscon, Arizona; South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis, Missouri; Main Street in Waterloo, New York; and Park Lane in Kirkland, Washington.
What makes a great street? Check out the American Planning Association’s guidelines here.