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"Our goal with INVEST South/West is to transform our historically underserved communities through place-based investment, which is why we're not only investing in mixed-use development projects but thoughtful streetscaping as well," said Mayor Lightfoot. "That's why I am especially thrilled to break ground on the Commercial Avenue Corridor Improvement Program in South Chicago. This effort will not only upgrade aging infrastructure with the community, but also create a more livable and vibrant commercial corridor for residents, businesses, and visitors alike."
The Commercial Avenue Corridor Improvement Project is the second INVEST South/West streetscape project to break ground, following last week's groundbreaking on Chicago Avenue in the Austin neighborhood. In total, CDOT is implementing $280 million in streetscape improvements along 12 key commercial corridors on the South and West Sides that incorporate infrastructure, pedestrian safety, and placemaking improvements. Encompassing 20 miles of arterial streets, these projects represent more than twice the mileage of all streetscapes completed in the 10 INVEST South/West neighborhoods since the 1990s.
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"The Commercial Avenue streetscape project we are breaking ground on today goes hand in hand with the public and private investments being made in South Chicago as part of INVEST South/West. Creating a safer, more walkable, and inviting street is good for South Chicago residents and good for the local economy," said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. "Thanks to Mayor Lightfoot's leadership, CDOT is implementing a dozen of these transformative streetscapes, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with community stakeholders to bring these projects to life."
Improvements along Commercial Avenue will include:
- Full width resurfacing.
- Curb extensions that create safer and shorter crossing distances for pedestrians.
- Bus bulbs that allow buses to pick up and drop off passengers without leaving the travel lane, which helps save time for transit riders.
- Raised bike lanes.
- Street lighting.
- Tree planting and landscaping.
- ADA ramps and crosswalks.
- Traffic signal upgrades and improved signage.
- Light pole identifiers and sidewalk plaques that highlight the history and culture of the South Chicago community.
Construction is expected to be completed in phases with full completion expected by the end of 2025.
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These improvements will complement other investments being made in South Chicago as part of INVEST South/West. The flagship development project, Galleria 89, is expected to break ground next year on Commercial Avenue. Galleria 89 is a $36.4 million project from 548 Development, planned for approximately .6 acres of underutilized properties on the 8800 block of South Commercial Avenue. The project will create a four-story building with 48 affordable apartments and rehab an existing, three-story building with 10 affordable apartments.
INVEST South/West launched in fall 2019 with a $750 million City commitment toward priority commercial corridors in Auburn Gresham, Austin, Bronzeville, Greater Englewood, Greater Roseland, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, New City, South Chicago, and South Shore. Since then, it has generated more than $2.2 billion in public, private, and philanthropic investment commitments.
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