How can a traffic circle impact racial equity?
In 2018, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) proposed a redesign project for North Milwaukee Avenue from Logan Square to Belmont, aimed at increasing safety for residents using varied forms of mobility. The proposal inspired urgent questions from residents and advocates who were simultaneously excited about the new streetscape and concerned about its potential impact on local residents.
Organizers from the Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA) and Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA) invited CUE to conduct an REIA on the project, leading to a series of REIA community meetings that engaged over 140 residents. Collectively, they reviewed data, shared neighborhood history and narratives, and generated recommendations in these four areas:
Explicitly include racial equity as a goal of this Complete Streets project
Develop an inter-agency neighborhood preservation plan
Support the creation and preservation of affordable, family-sized housing
For future projects, proactively incorporate racial equity considerations into all CDOT decision-making
After this REIA was published, its findings were used to support a public push to create a 100% affordable housing development on Emmett Street, one block from the proposed development. With the efforts of local organizers, the development easily earned support from local elected officials.
Juan Sebastian Arias, Ellie Mejia, Sara Shaw, Adam Slade, Sendy Soto, and the 2018 CUE Fellowship Cohort.