(CBS) — It’s supposed to improve foot traffic and to make the neighborhood pedestrian-friendly.
But a new set of tables and chairs, right in the intersection of Lincoln, Wellington and Southport in Lakeview, is creating some concern about safety and common sense, CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Winter Weather Advisory Remains In Parts Of Illinois And Indiana; Lake Effect Snow Lingers
For two years now, the city has been sprucing up streets and the areas alongside them into places that better serve the public, especially pedestrians.
Little parks — some call them “parklets.” That’s what’s coming there.
The city’s already eliminated some lanes of traffic and painted spots where some of the tables and chairs are already in place. At the moment, the only barriers protecting diners from traffic are these plastic stanchions and a few planters.
“I don’t know if it’s really super safe,” outdoor diner Kristen Rupar says. “But I trust the drivers of Lakeview, I guess.”READ MORE: Illinois State Departments, Driver Service Facilities Reopen Monday Weeks After COVID Surge
When the whole project is done, the crosswalks and sidewalks will be what is called public art, festooned with painted polka dots. There are lots more places to sit. Neighborhood businesses are eager.
“It just creates a unique vibe to an area that’s been kind of neglected for a while,” business owner Michael Salvatore says.
Some residents worry about how all these vanishing lanes will slow down traffic.
“It’s going to be much more difficult to get around the left-turners, so the traffic’s going to back up much further,” Lakeview resident Kurt Steib says.
Lee Crandall of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce calls that “calming” traffic.MORE NEWS: Snow, Black Ice Cause Multi-Vehicle Pile Up On Interstate 90
“People will see the final product and what we’re doing in the neighborhood and they’re going to feel like it’s worth it,” Crandall says.