The Peoria Street Pedestrian Street is a campaign to convert the primary connection on Peoria Street linking UIC's east campus, an entrance to the UIC-Halsted CTA Blue Line Station, CUPPA and Art & Design Halls, and the West Loop neighborhood, into a pedestrian street, that enhances the vitality of the street with people-oriented features like seating, landscaping, textured pavement, bike parking, and most prominent of all, the removal of cars.

In fall 2012 Steven was invited to give a Pecha Kucha presentation at the 2013 UIC Urban Innovation Symposium (February 8, 2013). It wasn't until three weeks prior to the event date that he came up with a topic. He was talking about streetcars, livability principles, and pedestrian streets with Ryan Lakes, who had just returned from a trip to London, Paris, and Lisbon had been. Those topics were on Steven's mind when he came across the Illinois Department of Transportation's plan to build more highways at the Circle Interchange next to UIC's campus, over Halsted and Harrison Streets.

A former student of the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) and an occasional user of the Peoria Street connection from Milwaukee Avenue (via Green Street to Fulton Market) to UIC campus and points south, Steven developed the idea to transform the short road in front of CUPPA to a proper pedestrian street, for the benefit of the hundreds of students in the two UIC buildings there, and the thousands of students and residents who use that connection to access the CTA station house.

For the next three weeks, until the Pecha Kucha, the Ryan and Steven spent over 150 hours on ideating, researching, sketching, designing, writing, and preparing for the presentation.

Who are Ryan and Steven?

photo of ryan lakes

Ryan Lakes

Architect in Chicago since 2005. Loves pedestrian-focused spaces and places, like Rua Augusta and the Alfama neighborhood, both in Lisbon, Portugal. Ryan graduated from Ball State University in 2005. Ryan is committed to staying in Chicago to bring about a more people-scaled built environment.

photo of steven vance

Steven Vance

Transportation planner and writer in Chicago. Increased his focus on importing Dutch and Danish-style bicycle cultures after visiting twice since graduating from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2010. Steven wants to get more people biking for everyday, utility trips.

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GAPS: the Group that's Activating Peoria Street. Yonah Freemark, Ryan Lakes, Steven Vance. 2013.