It’s Official: Meet the Elevate Devon Corridor Plan!

It’s Official: Meet the Elevate Devon Corridor Plan!

The Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA), Edgewater Chamber of Commerce (ECC) and Loyola University Chicago (LUC) are proud to announce the release of the Elevate Devon Corridor Plan — a pivotal multi-year strategic plan focused on improving Devon Avenue between Sheridan Road and Ravenswood Avenue. The goals, aspirations, actions and policies outlined within the Elevate Devon Corridor Plan are derived from the steady and involved work with our community members and partners. Through progressive input and consensus we grew to understand the most pressing needs and priorities of our constituents and how to shape a vibrant future along Devon Avenue in the Project Area.

Thank you to everyone who came together to share and help shape Devon’s future! Your collective contributions have provided us with an actionable guide and clear strategies to enhance and enliven a very special corridor, destination, and home to so many. Please read on by clicking the link below!

“The Elevate Devon planning process has helped build stronger connections within the community groups that coalesce in corridor, and now that it’s completed, the real work begins. While part of the plan includes creating a cohesive identity for the corridor, others involve a better pedestrian experience and programming that celebrates the culture reflected in the businesses on the street.”

Christina Pfitzinger, Executive Director of Edgewater Chamber of Commerce

“As one of the largest institutions in Edgewater and Rogers Park with thousands of faculty, staff, and students, we want to see our students and their families enjoy the Devon corridor. Together we’re enhancing and building places to experience quality food and services, find lively and entertaining events, experience an array of spectacular art to view, and feel safe driving, riding or walking on Devon.”

Cecilia Rodriguez, Director of the Office of Neighborhood Initiatives at Loyola University Chicago

“With great vitality, versatility, diversity, history, and charms, Devon Avenue is a special corridor, destination, and home to so many… We are particularly proud that Elevate Devon was developed based on community input that revealed the most pressing needs and priorities of residents, which will inform us to shape a vibrant future for this avenue of great historical and cultural prominence.”

– Sandi Price, executive Director of the Rogers Park Business Alliance

The Elevate Devon Corridor Plan was made possible thanks to the collective leadership, vision and investment of the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, Loyola University Chicago, and Rogers Park Business Alliance. Special thanks to our Steering Committee and Student Ambassadors for serving as dedicated team liaisons. And to the hundreds of passionate residents, local businesses, stakeholders, students, faculty, and staff who shared and connected, this plan would not have been possible without you.

Seasons Greetings! Elevate Devon Holiday Update

New Year, New Plan

And… we’re back! Hello Elevate Devon followers. It’s been a minute since you’ve heard from us and that’s because this Fall was spent drafting the Elevate Devon Corridor Plan, which is almost complete! As we head into the holidays, here is a quick update on where the plan stands and things to look forward to in the new year.

  • Feedback Applied + Draft Recommendations Refined: Community consensus and input shared as part of the Open House and Q+A Event were applied to refine the corridor themes, strategies, placemaking recommendations and design concepts.
  • Reality Checks & Balances with CDOT: Meetings were held with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to share draft concepts and gain feedback on implementation realities. Corridor design renderings, light pole and gateway identifiers, and the style and locations of crosswalks, intersections, bump outs, and streetscape recommendations were reviewed and discussed. CDOT provided guidance on safety and mobility improvements that would be achievable on Devon given the dimensions of the corridor, limited right-of-way, and roadway classification of Devon and intersecting streets in the Project Area.
  • Detailed Framework Plans Developed: With community consensus applied and CDOT oversight complete, a series of Framework Plans were developed that highlight corridor recommendations atop aerial maps. To provide focus, nuance and detail, the 1-mile Project Area was divided into four (4) quarter-mile sections with a Framework Plan for each. The Framework Plans serve as visual guides and overviews of improvements that are further reinforced and expanded upon later in the Plan.
  • Steering Committee & Partner Review: The Draft Elevate Devon Corridor Plan was assembled and shared with the Project Steering Committee, Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, Loyola University Chicago, and Rogers Park Business Alliance for review and comment.
  • New Year, New Plan: Keep an eye on your inbox in the coming weeks! The release of the Elevate Devon Corridor Plan is just around the corner.

Thank you for your involvement and help discovering possibilities and unlocking potential on Devon. We’ve had a blast interacting and learning from the community and are excited for all that is ahead! The Elevate Devon Corridor Plan capitalizes on the momentum built through the planning process and provides an actionable guide to achieve a vibrant vision.

Stay tuned and have a safe and happy holiday, ahead!

Transforming Community Feedback into Achievable Changes

Feedback Recap: Elevate Devon Virtual Open House and Live Q+A garner a whopping 700+ visitors and 200+ comments… summary below!

“Increasing pedestrian and bike safety is a huge way to bring in more customers to the businesses on this street. Most college students don’t have cars.”

“My family and I have lived in the neighborhood and very close to Devon for 5 years. I am thrilled to see further investment in what I’ve always thought was an untapped opportunity for the neighborhood. Keep it up!”

“Make Devon a better place for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. This planning process has shown an unmet desire for de-prioritizing cars along Devon and making the corridor more people-friendly.”

I especially like the native plants and pollinators. I love catching an eye of the rabbits which have made a home in the bushes at the bend onto Sheridan.”

Big thanks to each and every community member, resident, business owner, student and passionate stakeholder (including those above!) who took the time to provide feedback, ask questions, and engage in the Elevate Devon planning process. Click the button below to dive into a recap of feedback shared and findings collected. Topics highlighted include business vitality, safety and circulation, walkability, bike lanes, streetscape improvements, public art, gateway treatments, project funding, and much much more.

Next Steps

So, what’s next for Devon? The team is applying public input received to aid in the development of innovative and achievable plan goals and strategies. Plan drafting is underway and will continue through Fall of 2022. Project partners are working to connect with the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) to discuss the viability of different community-endorsed traffic calming measures and streetscape improvements.

If you would like to know when the Elevate Devon Plan is available, make sure to sign up for our newsletter below (if you haven’t already)!

Reminder: Open House Closes Today 8/15! Share + View Insights from Zoom Event…

Zoom Event Recap & Last Call to Participate in Virtual Open House

Time is running out! Join the 600+ visitors to date and swing by the Elevate Devon Virtual Open House to view and vote on design concepts for Devon Avenue. This online community event closes tonight — Monday, August 15th.

Discussion Slide from the Q+A Zoom Event on August 11th

Live Q+A Event Recap

Special thanks to all who joined us to share insights, questions and aspirations at the Live Q+A Session that took place over Zoom on Thursday, August 11th from 5:30 to 6:30pm! Hearing from and planning with the community are the foundation of Elevate Devon and project recommendations moving forward. The feedback received from the Virtual Open House and Live Q+A will be applied to the strategies, actions, and goals of the final plan.

At the Live Q+A event on August 11th, local business owners Michael and Janine Waszkowski of Ellipsis Coffeehouse spoke about their experience as business owners on Devon Avenue and hopes for the Elevate Devon project.

Michael and Janine Waszkowski of Ellipsis Coffeehouse located at 1259 W Devon Avenue

“I am looking forward to seeing the area become more accessible to people walking by; drawing more of the students from Loyola University towards to community, west. Really please with what you all are doing!”

Michael Waszkowski, Ellipsis Coffeehouse

Throughout the session, the team shared additional context on design recommendations, identity concepts and project priorities, which were elaborated on during the Q+A. Some topics discussed included how to best balance different modes of transportation along the corridor, sustainability, funding for projects, coordination with CDOT and CTA, and business attraction. Filling vacancies and improving the safety of pedestrians and cyclists continue to be high priorities for the community.

“I do think that increasing biker and pedestrian safety is a huge way to bring in more customers to the businesses on this street.”

Community Member Comment

The project team discussed the merits of bumpouts, traffic calming measures, and logistical challenges given the width of the roadway and functions therein. Identity concepts and corridor themes were also shared; highlighted below.

“Medallion is great. It’s unique, but connective to the branding on West Devon, as well as picking up on the colors and motifs being used on North Clark.”

Community Member Comment

The Virtual Open House will stay open through Monday, August 15th. If you didn’t get the chance to stop by the Q+A, make sure to check out the Open House and submit your feedback before it closes! Celebrating local values is a key component of the Elevate Devon planning process, and we appreciate the insights you all have provided to us every step of the way.

A detailed summary of feedback received via the Q+A Event and Virtual Open House will be shared in the coming weeks. Please subscribe below to receive updates.

Register: Zoom Event this Thursday, August 11th @ 5:30pm

8/11 Live Q+A Zoom Event: Shaping & Strengthening the Future of Devon

Join us this Thursday, August 11th at 5:30pm CST over Zoom to take part in our final community event as part of Elevate Devon before plan drafting begins.

Register and tune-in to learn more about the corridor improvements and design concepts shared as part of the Elevate Devon Virtual Open House. Bring your questions and get ready to connect with the team on the future of Devon. Prior to the event, make sure to visit the Virtual Open House (available through August 15th) to explore the placemaking recommendations and video modules – click here. Special thanks to the hundreds of folks who have already participated and shared insights. Keep em coming and we look forward to connecting with you and answering FAQs on Thursday.

Thanks to everyone who attended the Live Q&A Zoom Session on August 11th @ 5:30pm. Discussion highlights and slides will be posted soon. Subscribe below for updates.

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

It’s Here! Virtual Open House Showcases Design Concepts and Themes for the Future of Devon

View & Share Feedback on Corridor Design Concepts Aimed at Improving Safety, Sense of Place, and Vitality on Devon Avenue

Friends, Fans, and Followers of Elevate Devon:

The Virtual Open House is officially… open! Click the button below to explore a series of interactive stations that introduce corridor design concepts, themes and identity considerations for the Devon Avenue Study Area. Watch the short video modules to view materials and learn about the development process — then use the input tools to share your preferences, reactions, and feedback.

Have questions? Hungry for more content and context? After taking part in the Virtual Open House, register and join us for the Live Q&A Session taking place over Zoom on Thursday, August 11th from 5:30pm – 6:30pm; enter open house to register. This session will be your chance to hear more from the project team and chime in on the concepts and information shared.

The Virtual Open House will be live from August 1st to August 15th. Thank you for the ongoing feedback and support received over the past 5-months … please stay engaged and keep it coming!

Review design concepts for Devon Avenue related to traffic calming, intersection treatments, signage, seating, plantings, pedestrian and bike improvements, and more… rank strategies, identify preferences, share feedback!

Preview of Open House Station Areas

Elevate Devon Project Updates

Coming in August: Virtual Open House & Live Q+A Session

Since the Placemaking Poll closed, the Elevate Devon team has been hard at work! We have been taking your ideas, preferences, and visions, and turning them into achievable, high-quality design concepts for the Devon Corridor. And soon, we’ll be ready to share those concepts with you.

A Virtual Open House will be going live via the project website in early August, where community members will get the chance to take a look at different thematic and physical design ideas for Devon, and provide feedback. The Virtual Open House will be live for approximately two weeks to ensure as many folks as possible can take part.

After you’ve had a chance to soak those concepts and ideas in, we will be hosting a Live Q&A Session via Zoom on Thursday, August 11th from 5:30pm – 6:30pm. This will be your chance to chime in on the concepts and information shared at the Virtual Open House.

Stay tuned for more information on the Virtual Open House and Zoom registration link for the Q&A Session. As always, please feel free to reach out to the Elevate Devon team with any questions or comments via the contact page on the project website.

Results are in! Placemaking Poll is Closed, But We’re Just Getting Started…!

350+ Community Insights Shine Light on Desired Look, Feel and Future of Devon

The Placemaking Poll closed on May 18th with more than 350 responses and 340+ comments! We want to thank each and every one of you who spent time sharing your thoughts, visions, and hopes for the future of Devon Avenue. Your feedback is the most important part of the Elevate Devon process, and is applied directly to the plan to help guide and inform corridor recommendations.

Your insights aided us in learning a lot. In the six weeks it was open, we heard different perspectives on everything from public art to lighting to landscaping to the pedestrian experience, and so much more. Sometimes there were clear favorites; other times, the community seemed to like a variety of options. You can dive into the poll results here and read a quick recap below.

Placemaking Poll Highlights:

Make Devon more pedestrian friendly! An overwhelming number of participants indicated that pedestrian amenities such as safer crossing treatments, corner bumpouts, parklets, and mini pedestrian plazas are high priorities. Many people commented on the narrow sidewalks and existing curbed planters obstructing movement and accessibility.

Make Space, Create Place. 80% of poll respondents stated they were supportive of removing parking to enhance the pedestrian environment but where this happens and to what degree are important considerations. To that point…

Location, location, location. Lots of comments noted the location of street improvements as pivotal to their potential success; Devon is not a “one size fits all” street! We hear you, and we couldn’t agree more. Site selection relative to the types of placemaking and corridor improvements will be an important part of the design process.

Bright, colorful murals that celebrate diversity were a top choice for public art. We heard in the comments the importance of working with local artists and representing the uniqueness of the neighborhood.

Durability and maintenance are key. Community comments honed in on the longevity of corridor aesthetics and need for placemaking components like murals, awnings, and landscaping to look fresh and attractive overtime. Corridor improvements and recommendations need to last and look great.

Cozy overhead lighting will create ambiance. Overhead + festoon lighting was the clear favorite (more than 50% of poll respondents voted for this type of lighting). Comments highlighted this style fits the neighborhood feel of Devon more than some of the other lighting options and would cater to an inviting pedestrian feel.

Respect all of our neighbors. When asked about seating options along Devon, more than a quarter of respondents specifically mentioned they would not be in support of hostile architecture in seating preferences. Hostile architecture is a term that refers to urban design strategies that purposely guide or restrict behavior. Corridor recommendations need to be inclusive and considerate of the interplay of all users with the varying environments on Devon.

Form follows function. Establishing and enhancing corridor identity through innovative placemaking strategies is a clear priority. However, these strategies must be rooted in “use factors” and functional upgrades, i.e. iconic seating that is comfortable, and not so low to the ground that it is difficult for elderly to use.

Signage and identity. Over half of respondents voted for business blade signage and over 40% for light pole identifiers. Insights here centered on creating a more inviting and engaging pedestrian environment that supports local businesses and celebrates local identity.

Cyclists don’t feel safe on Devon. 85% of cyclists who responded indicated that they are uncomfortable, feel unsafe, or avoid riding a bike on Devon. Corridor safety enhancements and traffic calming measures that aide in the reduction of vehicle speeds and greater awareness of pedestrians and cyclists are vital for the future of Devon.

What’s Next?

We’ll be taking the results of the Placemaking Poll, community workshop, pop-ups, and comments mapped via the website back to our Steering Committee in mid-June to discuss next steps and direction. Themes and consensus established from this community engagement is already being shared with the urban designers who will help us turn your vision into a reality.

The next few months will be spent formulating recommendations that will create a vibrant, safe, and thriving Devon Avenue for residents, pedestrians, businesses, visitors, and all who frequent the corridor.

Once those designs and recommendations are decided on, we’ll have a Community Open House (date TBD) where we’ll share the ways we used your feedback to shape the future of the corridor.

If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe below to stay involved and engaged! Plan updates, draft recommendations, and community open house date to come.

Placemaking Poll Closes Tomorrow, Wednesday May 18th

Placemaking Poll Closes Tomorrow Wednesday, May 18th… Scroll Down to Vote for Corridor Design Concepts!

Join the hundreds of community members who have voted for the placemaking and corridor design concepts they’d like to see prioritized on Devon. From walkability and traffic calming to public art, events and more!

Launched on April 6th, this short + sweet visual poll is filled with images and concepts inspired by local feedback! Take it today to vote for the visuals and priorities you want to see happen on Devon. The poll only takes 5-10 minutes to complete and closes end of day on May 18th.

Thanks to all who shared, the poll has closed. Subscribe for project updates on the homepage to have results emailed to you.

Stop Power + Stay Power: Locals Share Insights at Pop-Ups & Virtual Workshop

Stop Power, Stay Power, Identity and Traffic Calming – Residents and businesses identify what they want most for Devon Avenue!

Thanks again to all who have participated so far! Remember to take our Placemaking Poll before it closes on May 18th!

We can do it alone, or we could do it together

Higher, by Zeshan B

Creating an active Devon was the theme of the evening for our Virtual Community Workshop on April 27th. The meeting started out by listening to local artist Zeshan B’s song “Higher.” Over the course of the meeting, we heard ideas about bringing vibrant sights, smells and sense of touch to enhance the Devon experience.

At the workshop we recapped our progress to date and had the privilege of hearing from local business owners and residents about their ideas for the future of Devon. Participants agreed that we are stronger together, and that the corridor needs a unified identity that embraces its diversity of businesses, people and places. Some highlights of feedback we received are below:

  • People want places to linger – places like coffee shops, breweries, and bookstores that encourage folks to stick around Devon
  • Creative synergy and corridor identity – use art, identity, signage and traffic calming to give the area synergy and connectedness; attract businesses to fill gaps, and keep you wanting to walk about and experience Devon.
  • Stop power is stay power – so many people travel down Devon, but how do we make them stop? We need to add elements like art + identity to the street that catch your eye and encourage you to pause on Devon.
Corridor Pop-Up at Devon Market

Click on the links below to view the Workshop Presentation and summary of findings from Poll #1 where 640+ locals identified their priorities for Devon. Further – many participants shared comments adding value and context to the poll results. We value your ideas and continued involvement in this process.