Grant to help Chicago improve safety on high-crash corridor

January 10, 2024

Chicago will use a $20.9 million U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) grant to improve safety along Ogden Avenue, a high crash corridor in the North Lawndale neighborhood on the city’s west side. The funds will help the city revitalize the southwest corridor and repurpose public spaces along connecting roads. Construction is slated for 2026.

Lawndale is one of eight Chicago communities identified as high-crash areas accounting for a combined 36% of the city’s roadway fatalities, according to the 2019 Vision Zero Chicago West Side Plan. Other high-risk neighborhoods in the plan include Garfield Park and Austin.

Pedestrian corridor hazards include “excessive distances” to cross the “highway-like feel” of Ogden Avenue, according to a 2023 project overview by the City of Chicago. The avenue lacks refuge spaces and other safety amenities to help residents cross the street. 

The project will eliminate vehicle lanes, install pedestrian refuge islands and build protected bike lanes along the entire corridor. Additional improvements include pedestrian countdown timers and leading pedestrian intervals at all signalized intersections.

Other roadway additions include ADA-accessible bus stops, raised crosswalks, left-turn phasing and extensions of sidewalk zones or curb lines known as bump-outs. In addition, the city will build seating areas, expand sidewalks, improve drainage, resurface roads, add lighting, landscaping and street geometry.

Plans also call for the addition of light poles and gateway identifiers highlighting the corridor’s cultural heritage as part of Historic Route 66, the corridor’s former designation from 1926 to 1976. Route 66 connected Chicago and Los Angeles until it was removed from the United States Highway System in 1985.

Chicago is one of 385 communities receiving grants from USDOT’s five-year Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) program. The federal agency announced SS4A grants worth a combined $817 million in December. The agency awarded over $1.7 billion from the planned $5 billion allocated for the program from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) in 2023.The application window for the next round of SS4A grants will open in February 2024.

Strategic Partnerships, Inc. can provide information on contract opportunities, plus existing and future government funding. For more information, contact

Photo courtesy of the city of Chicago

Paul Stinson

Paul Stinson has more than 15 years of journalism experience, including a decade covering the legislative and regulatory affairs of Texas, South Africa, and Germany for an affiliate of Bloomberg, L.P. His experience includes covering voting rights and the sectors of environment, energy, labor, healthcare, and taxes. Stinson joined the team in October as a reporter for SPI’s news publications, which include Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the newly-launched Government Market News. He is also a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, and an Arthur F. Burns Fellow. He holds a master’s in journalism from Indiana University.   

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