Chicago: Mayor Emanuel, Alderman Burnett Join West Loop Community to Break Ground for Second Phase of Fulton Market Streetscape Project
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Alderman Walter Burnett (27th Ward) and West Loop stakeholders in breaking ground on the second phase of the Fulton Market Streetscape Project, which will improve pedestrian safety and upgrade the infrastructure on the historic corridor from Carpenter Street to Ogden Avenue. Work on the first phase of the modernization project, from Halsted to Carpenter, was completed by the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) in November 2018.

“The new streetscape is a major milestone in the redevelopment of Fulton Market, an area that was Chicago’s economic engine in the 19th Century that has been reborn and is now powering the City’s tech and cultural boom,” Mayor Emanuel said. By working closely with the community and Alderman Burnett, we are modernizing the infrastructure, beautifying the corridor and making it suitable for the mixed-use economy of the 21st Century.”

The City Council designated the Fulton-Randolph Market District as a Chicago Landmark in July 2015. The streetscape plan was developed in cooperation with Alderman Burnett and community stakeholders, including the West Loop Community Organization (WLCO), and the Department of Planning and Development (DPD). The design is intended to make the neighborhood more pedestrian-friendly, while preserving its historic character and accentuating historic architectural elements.

"The Fulton Market Streetscape Project has already provided a safer environment for pedestrians and added to the vibrancy of the neighborhood," Alderman Burnett said. “We are excited to get started on the next phase of the project that will extend the modernization to Ogden Avenue.”

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“We are thrilled to get started on the next section of this project that is preserving the historic character of the neighborhood and setting the stage for the continued advancement and development of the Fulton Market corridor,” said Carla Agostinelli, executive director of WLCO, which has been supporting economic and community development in the neighborhood since 1991.

The Streetscape plan was approved by the Landmarks Commission in 2015.  A gateway arch was constructed at the entrance to the district on Fulton Market west of Halsted Street in 2015.

“The Fulton Market Streetscape Project is a great demonstration of CDOT’s Complete Streets approach to designing streetscapes in cooperation with community stakeholders,” CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld said. “We’ve worked closely with residents and businesses in this thriving community to come up with a flexible design that accommodates the evolving land uses and preserves Fulton Market’s historic feel, while harnessing the creative energy that has blossomed in the neighborhood in recent years.”

“Fulton Market has been a vital part of the Kinzie Industrial Corridor for more than a century, and the streetscape project ensures it will serve the needs of local businesses for many decades to come,” said DPD Commissioner David Reifman.

Features of the project include:

•          Granite cobbled intersections with granite accents and attractive street furniture, including seating and bike racks, throughout the project area.

•          New, widened sidewalks, shorter pedestrian crossings at intersections and new energy-efficient LED street lighting.

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•          Design that enhances the industrial character by maintaining raised sidewalks and dock areas on certain blocks.

•          Separate truck parking zones and a wide through lane allowing adequate room for cars to maneuver.

•          Formalized angled and parallel parking areas that serve as loading zones during industrial hours and parking during entertainment hours.

Work on the second phase from Carpenter to Ogden is expected to be complete by the end of 2019. The total cost for both phases of the project is $20.3 million.

Throughout the work, Fulton Market will remain open to and pedestrians and access to businesses and residences will be maintained. However, some sections may be closed temporarily to vehicular traffic on a short-term basis.

Characterized by a rare ensemble of manufacturing and warehouse buildings, the Fulton-Randolph Market District encompasses 142 properties on the Near West Side, primarily along the 700 to 1000 blocks of West Randolph Street, the 100 to 300 blocks on North Sangamon Street, the 900 block of West Lake Street and 800 to 1100 blocks of West Fulton Market Street.

The area initially grew as Chicago’s main food market with the construction of a municipal market hall in the middle of Randolph, west of Des Plaines Street, in 1850. The area subsequently flourished as a wholesale market and distribution center for agricultural products from across the Midwest and West.

In addition to food marketing and processing, the district includes a number of historic manufacturing and warehouse buildings that reflect a broader pattern of industrial development that took place on the Near West Side in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

It recent years, the neighborhood has developed as a thriving tech industry hub, exemplified by Google’s Chicago office. The neighborhood got an added boost with the opening of the McDonald’s headquarters last year. It also boasts a hot restaurant scene. The neighborhood’s transit connectivity was enhanced by the opening of the new, CDOT-constructed Morgan Street CTA “L” station in 2012 that serves the Green and Pink lines.

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