Argyle Street, home to some of Chicago's best Vietnamese restaurants, is getting a makeover from the city. The three-block stretch of Argyle from Broadway Avenue to Sheridan Road will become Chicago's first shared street, a new project that essentially turns the space into a plaza, giving pedestrians priority over motor vehicles.
Work began on Monday, as city officials shared a news release about the $3.6 million project, but the efforts have been ongoing in ensuring the community knew about the plan. Workers will raise the road to be level with the sidewalk and swap out the asphalt for paved stones. In a news release, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfield said the work would make it more inviting for sidewalk cafes and street fairs. The speed limit for motor vehicles would also drop to 15 miles per hour in the area making it more pedestrian friendly.
Many Chicagoans are familiar with Tank Noodle, which sits on the high-traffic southeast corner of Broadway and Argyle, thus making it very visible to passersby. The project has the potential for drawing business to other restaurants away from that intersection, restaurants like King of Thai Noodles and Rice and Pho 777; there are eight restaurants on that strip. Construction should be complete by June 2016. The Argyle CTA Red Line station, which is decorated with the words "Asia on Argyle" will remain open, though traffic will eventually be temporarily reduced to one way going east during construction.
Ald. Harry Osterman's (48th) office has been busy with the project. While the plan has the potential of making Asia on Argyle a culinary destination in the same vein as Chinatown, representatives from his office said they're trying to establish their own unique identity in Uptown.
Will this project boost businesses for area restaurants? Any results will wait until next year.