COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space

Road Diet Case Study: Quick to Arrive at East 55

Jan 31, 2020
Jan 30, 2020

↵ Back: A Placemaker's Primer on Road Diets

Top: East 55th Street before road diet (2011). Bottom: After road diet (2017).
The multimodal reinvention of East 55th Street in Chicago, IL, makes getting to and from University of Chicago campus faster, easier, and safer.

The Highlights

  • Vehicle crashes have decreased by 31%
  • Pedestrian crashes have decreased by 45%
  • Bicyclist crashes have decreased by 33%
  • The population increased in this area by an average of 6% while the surrounding areas has increased by 1%.
  • Market land value along East 55 St has increased by 18%

The Details

East 55th Street demonstrates the effectiveness of a road diet on a primarily institutional corridor. Since it sits alongside the University of Chicago, many students and faculty commute via various modes of transportation to the University along the street.

To accommodate these commuters, the road diet of E 55th Street reallocated travel lanes to add protected bike lanes, and a redesigned bus lane, which has ensured efficient bus operation while also providing a safer environment for all other modes of transportation.

Word on the Street

“I really love them. I live off campus so I have to cross 55th to get to school. The bike lanes make it much easier to get across. And now I feel like I have the option of riding on 55th. Before I would have avoided it at all costs.” 
Cynthia de la Rosa, University of Chicago student (Grid Chicago)
“It’s great to finally have a safe way for bikers to get across the neighborhood,” he added. “For the most part it’s been a very positive thing.”
Manuel Quinonez, manager at 55th Street’s Seven Ten Lanes bowling alley and tavern (Grid Chicago)
Related Articles & Resources
COVID-19: The Recovery will Happen in Public Space