Loyola says Kenmore Avenue might never reopen

By Lauren Ruckheim

This might sound like bad news to Loyola University Chicago students who face a longer commute to classes: Kenmore Avenue might never reopen.

But the good news is that if the university keeps Kenmore closed, there will be pedestrian walkways to shorten the stroll to campus.

“It [Kenmore] will become a south campus residential village. Like the rest of the campus there would not be cars except for emergencies. The south campus would be landscaped with grass, trees, flowers, benches, and pedestrian walkways,” said Jennifer Clark vice president of campus/community planning at Loyola.

Since 2004, Loyola University Chicago’s $500 million construction project has been a regular part of Loyola students’ daily routines. Only recently did the construction begin to affect students’ living situations with the closing of Kenmore Avenue.

The closing of Kenmore has forced students to walk through alleys in order to get to their dorms as well as put up with the constant noise of the construction.

“I can’t really study in my room during the day because of the loud noises that are constantly outside my window. Also, I end up getting woken up super early because of the loud noises and banging,” said Emily Bourdow, 20, a sophomore biology major.
In addition to the constant noise of the construction, many students wish they were given more notice as to the closing of Kenmore Avenue.

“I think the least they could have done was give us some notice that the street was going to be closed for the rest of the year because it is a big inconvenience. I had no idea what was going on until I read it in the Phoenix a week later. During midterms, many students have found that the construction has made them have to change their daily routines,” said Tessa Kuipers, 20, a sophomore psychology major.
The part that seems most difficult for students is that students have not received any accommodations or assistance from the school to help them adjust to the construction.

“I honestly think they could have left a small walking path. I think the closure of the entire street was Loyola trying to make a statement to the city so the university could close it for good in the future. Which would mean the students were not kept in the administration’s mind,” said Michael Conway, 20, a history and political science major.

Clark said the university has offered alternatives to the commute.

“There is a pedestrian path depicted on Loyola’s construction website. Additionally, we suspected that students would not take Winthrop and would instead shortcut through the alley we added additional lighting to the alleys for safety,” Clark said.

The administration at Loyola is hoping to close the North part of Kenmore Avenue permanently, Clark said.


16 thoughts on “Loyola says Kenmore Avenue might never reopen

  1. Bill Savage

    Yet another Loyola land-grab. Kenmore is a key north-south bike route, and unless Winthrop is made a two-way street, or Rosemont is, closing this stretch of Kenmore will be a nightmare for drivers too. And it will make traffic on Sheridan Road worse as well: drivers won’t have the option of driving north on Kenmore onto campus with the green light; they’ll have to turn either left or right off of Sheridan Road. That intersection is already a nightmare, without left turn lanes or arrows, and even cars turning right clog northbound traffic as they wait for pedestrians to cross the Loyola access road. Just because Loyola owns both sides of a side street doesn’t mean the university is the only stakeholder, or that the street should automatically be sold to them by the city.

    1. Kevin B

      Seems like a logical idea in terms of shutting down Kenmore. The area could use additional green space. In addition, if pedestrian friendly, that would not shut down the opportunity to use the area as a bike route. As a condition of the “land grab” they should be required to fund an additional light at Kenmore and Sheridan. Commuters on Sheridan may be most impacted by that but the area itself would benefit by the additional green space.

      1. James Ness

        Kevin – I agree – but did you know there is a light at Kenmore and Sheridan – been there for awhile – they have talked about converting it from a standard light to one that will also have a left hand turn signal and lane for those entering the campus. this would be good as ongoing traffic could proceed on the right side of the road. I believe Loyola would be amenable to a bike path – we it would be good for their students as well. they don’t have a problem with bikes on their current campus or for residents to traverse and enjoy the campus either. I suspect that will apply to Kenmore and you are right on – we could use some more greening in the neighborhood.

    2. Jennifer Clark


      The bike path was called a “spur” to the official City route because it only lead to Loyola’s campus where it dead-ends. As you probably know there is no legal route to ride a bike North of the Loyola campus. The official route goes west on Granville and north on Glenwood. I have been working for years with the City and the Active Transportation Alliance to address northbound bikes who are legally dead-ended at Albion. It’s not fair to assume that the “land grab” you’re worried about happens in a vaccuum – we (Loyola and the neighborhood and the City governement) will get it fixed, you should consider joining us.

      As for the left-turn arrow – I’m fixing that too.

      Thanks for your support.

      Jennifer Clark

  2. James Ness

    I think the closing of Kenmore to expandthe campus is a good thing for the University and the neighborhood. This improves the Edgewater community with additional landscaping and hopefully forces more cars out of Chicago. I am a true believer that if you live in Chicago you need to find a place where you can afford a garage. Street parking should first go to the folks along the curve – and that is Loyola. Instead of the negative (i don’t accept change mentality) think of the positives – more students in the area = safety, purchasing power for Granville, and a landscaped park area to boot. The street could still accomodate a bike path (although I am a strong supporter of a bike path along the lakefront from Hollywood North to Evanston – Lanscaped Kenmore with a bike path! wow- – That to me is the real win win here folks.

    1. James Ness

      I agree – Loyola owners both sides of the street – so closing it off to traffic is fine – and they have tentatively advised they would be agreeable to bike access – so we all win!

  3. Pingback: Edgewater & Andersonville in the news | Edgeville Buzz

  4. Bruce Walker

    The City Council created the Chicago Department of Transportation Bike Program, a multi-million dollar program funded primarily by Federal CMAQ funds. The program, whose efforts are guided by the Bike 2015 Plan, approved in June 2006, has created over 100 miles of new bike lanes including the ones on Kenmore and Winthrop.

    Loyola needs federal approval.

    How they got built.


    1. James Ness

      Loyola has never said and is not saying that bikes will not be accomodated on Kenmore. No federal waiver is needed – Loyola will still be in compliance if they had an agreement to keep Kenmore as a bike path – which is totally different than a promise to keep Kenmore as a road. I again reiterate – a closed Kenmore resulting in a park like setting which accomodates pedestrians and bikes is a win win for the neighborgood and all of Edgewater and Chicago

      1. Bruce

        I have seen nothing that shows a bike path through the new campus. What I have seen is a gauntlet and a boondogle. Lets se how the feds weigh in.

      2. James Ness

        Bruce – Enough government intervention in our lives – we should embrace Loyola and all their improvements to our (my) neighborhood. They have increased our propoerty values and our lifestyle – for that they have my complete support, I bike through Loyola regularly -it is odd that you report there isn’t a bike path – there is a road from the entrance through the campus right to Albion. You should go on the campus and ride this road right through the campus, It is not a traffic road so it is obviously for their service wagons and bikes. Good for Loyola students and their neighbors.- and well used. I suggest you go on the campus and see all the wonderful new buildings and grass park areas – as well as new walking paths and the bike road. I haven’t found anyone who can walk that campus without being in awe – and appreciative of how much the campus has changed since 1978. It is Loyola money that has made the difference and added lifestyle improvements for all of us. Thank you Loyola! and their building fund! the sooner they close Kenmore (with a bike path) and continue the greening of this neighborhood and sooner I and my dog will be able to enjoy this new amenity.

      3. Bruce

        Greetings James,
        I was one of the many that built the parking garage that has the cool clock on campus. I do love what Loyola has done with most of their projects. As a bike commuter in the neighborhood I am ofen biking on the campus. I use to coach ultimate on the old field whaer the bus turn out now exist. Been here since 87. I am drafting some plans that i will share soon enough.

  5. Bruce Walker

    As you probably know it is legal to ride a bike North of the Loyola campus alng Sheridan Road.

    As you probably know it is also legal to ride through the campus on the former City Streets as was spelled out in the accord between the City and Loyola at the time the Parking Garage was built.

  6. Pingback: Report: Loyola May Close A Block Of Kenmore Avenue Permanently « CBS Chicago

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s