Pilsen Sustainable Streetscape (Cermak/Blue Island)

Cermak Road Streetscape
Photo Credit: CDOT

Project Description

The Pilsen Sustainable Street is the first “sustainable streetscape”, built along Cermak Road and Blue Island Avenue.  The project used several environmentally friendly techniques in its design and construction—techniques commonly associated with LEED-certified buildings but not typical in construction projects.

The 2-mile-long streetscape includes new sidewalk and roadway surfaces, street trees and landscaped planters, roadway and pedestrian lighting, and light pole and free standing community identifier elements.  In addition, this project created one of the most environmentally friendly stretches of roadway in Chicago, including sustainable features such as:

  • Recycled content—Recycled at least 90 percent of construction waste, and specified new materials with at least 10 percent recycled content
  • Energy conservation—reduced energy use below the typical streetscape baseline; use reflective surfaces on sidewalks and roadways; use dark-sky-friendly light fixtures
  • Stormwater management—Diverted 80 percent of the typical average annual rainfall from the storm sewer system through use of pervious pavements, bioswales and infiltration planters.
  • Urban heat island mitigation—reduced ambient summer temperatures on streets and sidewalks through use of reflective pavements on roadways, light-colored sidewalks and trees for shading
  • Alternative transportation— provided new ADA compliant sidewalks and ramps, improved bus stops with signage, lighting; added bike lanes along Blue Island and bike racks throughout project
  • Water efficiency—eliminated potable water sources for irrigation; used native or climate-adapted, drought-tolerant plants for all landscaping
  • Education—community identifiers and self-guided tour brochures highlight innovative, sustainable features of streetscape
  • Monitoring—CDOT partnered with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to monitor the project and measure its environmental impacts.

Phase I: Cermak Road between Halsted Street and Ashland Avenue, and Blue Island Avenue between Ashland Avenue and Wolcott Avenue – Complete

Phase II: Blue Island Avenue, Western Avenue to Wolcott Avenue – Construction to start Spring 2016

Related Material


Cermak Road Streetscape
Walking Tour / Guia de Recorrido
Related press