No Sidewalks, No Lights and Almost No Signs on Chicago Street

Imagine: a street with no sidewalks, no crosswalks, no curbs or lane markings. This is a street with no distinctions between pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. The city of Chicago is betting against the unsafe odds on its new redesign of a four-block stretch of its uptown.

The idea behind the redesign is that by removing common street controls, street users will actually act less recklessly and will use eye contact to negotiate space. And, this idea isn’t anything new! In London, shared streets have existed for years and have proven to be effective in reducing accidents. Cities in the U.S. like Seattle, Washington and Buffalo, New York, also have shared streets.

As the city of Chicago began looking to implement a new street improvement project for Argyle Street, the idea came about. Argyle Street, an active block with business and restaurants in a diverse neighborhood, has also shut down in the past two summers for the city’s first night market. The $3.5 million renovation will not feature curbs or lanes but will include stop signs to avoid chaos. The speed limit will be set to 15 miles per hour, and different colors and pavers will indicate differences between the sidewalk and street. 

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Nick Banks

Nick created Front Street Commercial Real Estate Group in 2002 and spent the first eight years developing and acquiring office and retail projects in South Florida as well as North Central Florida. In 2010 the focus of the firm was shifted to primarily serve third party clients and perform brokerage, property management and mortgage banking functions. Nick has personally developed and acquired nearly 200,000 square feet of office and retail properties in markets throughout Florida. Prior to founding Front Street, Nick was the Director of Finance and Dispositions for Stiles Corporation in Fort Lauderdale where he financed and sold over $500 million in commercial real estate. Before joining Stiles, Nick was an Associate Director at GE Capital Real Estate where he sourced over $200 million in financing throughout Florida. Nick is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in Finance and a concentration in Real Estate. He serves as a board member and current vice-chair for the United Way of North Central Florida where he also chairs the Development Committee. Nick is actively involved with the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce where he serves as a board member and committee member for the Council for Economic Outreach. He is also a recent graduate of Leadership Gainesville which is a year long leadership program hosted by the Chamber. He is a member of Grace United Methodist Church where he has served as finance chair and as a member of the leadership council. Nick serves as an advisory board member of the University of Florida Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies. Nick was recently named chair of the Gainesville committee for the North Florida chapter of Urban Land Institute (ULI). He is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Florida and is a long time member of the International Council of Shopping Centers.

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