The state has awarded a 25,000 grant to plan roadway enhancements along North Avenue between Oak Park and Central avenues, according to a news release from the Illinois Department of Transportation.

Local leaders and community organizers have long advocated for improvements to the beleaguered commercial corridor, citing a need for better parking, more attention to parkways and more crosswalks, among other concerns.

Judith Alexander, chair of the North Avenue Zoning and Development Advisory Committee and co-founder of the North Avenue Neighbors Association of Oak Park, and other organizers have been working on a walkability study to show a need for improvements to North Avenue.

“We’re delighted that this funding came through. We’ve long believed that North Avenue needs a revitalization plan, and now that will be possible,” Alexander said in the IDOT news release. “This will mean a great deal to Chicago and Oak Park residents living near North Avenue.”

State Sen. Don Harmon said in the news release that the grant will be used to “enhance safety, improve livability and promote economic development.”

IDOT noted that the funds also will be used to study planning along the same segments of Chicago Avenue and Madison Street “to ensure a comprehensive look at the transportation system in the region.”

“In other locations, these types of projects have eventually led to safety improvements, enhanced lighting, expanded medians and crosswalks and beautification elements,” according to IDOT.

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