• SSA 21 - Lincoln Square Master Plan
  • Make Way For People

  • The Lincoln Square Neighborhood Improvement Program and 40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez partnered with the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD) and Department of Transportation (CDOT) to plan for a Make Way for People project in Lincoln Square.

    What is Make Way for People? The program is a CDOT initiative to strengthen an area's sense of place and community. By converting streets, sidewalks, plazas and alleys into places for people to sit, eat, and play, the program helps create safe, walkable neighborhoods that support local business and strengthen a sense of place. The idea is to use lighter, less expensive tools such as removable decks, paint, and flower pots to quickly convert underutilized or small sections of the public right-of-way into people-centered places.

  • Lincoln Square Initiative

    The Ainslie Arts Plaza.  When the Lincoln Square McDonald's restaurant announced that they would be remodeling, it allowed for an opportunity to transform a section of underutilized roadway into a vibrant people space (Lincoln Avenue between Gunnison and Ainslie). Previously, Lincoln Avenue adjacent to the restaurant only existed to serve as an exit for drive-thru customers. Through community input and feedback, and the help of CDOT's Make Way for People program, we were able to redirect the drive-thru traffic and close the street to vehicles to allow for the creation of the Ainslie Arts Plaza. 

    The plaza has created a a new place for people to relax and congregate, host pop-up events, celebrate local art, and so much more. Through the plaza and Make Way for People Program, we will be able to test an array of initiatives to activate growth in the northern section of Lincoln Square. In past experiences, successful Make Way for People projects often become permanent plaza spaces, as seen in the images below of the Lakeview and Andersonville neighborhoods.



  • People Spot, Andersonville Chamber of Commerce

  • Andersonville People Spot
  • Lincoln Hub, Lakeview Chamber of Commerce

  • Lakeview Lincoln Hub

  • Steps to Developing the Plaza

  • Ainslie Arts Plaza

    Quick Poll Public Participation. Between Tuesday, August 11th and Friday, August 21st, 2020, the community participated in a Neighborhood Quick Poll to weigh in on how they might use a new Make Way for People plaza in Lincoln Square. During that time, more than 1,200 participants (1,281 to be exact) took the poll, rating their preferences regarding public space activities and events, and sharing insights about why they like, love, or loathe various plaza functions. Participants were asked to review a series of images and provide responses about how likely they are to participate in those functions if provided in the plaza. In true Lincoln Square fashion, folks were encouraged to provide additional insights via the open comment section.



  • Ainslie Arts Plaza Rendering

    Virtual Town Hall. Big thanks to everyone who came out to the Virtual Town Hall on Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020. The meeting included a full agenda of folks from the 40th Ward, Special Service Area (SSA) #21, Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD), Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), Teska Associates, and most importantly... You! Approximately 50 people from the community attended the Zoom platform meeting from the comfort of their own homes.

    The meeting agenda included:

    1. Welcome + Introductions (40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez)
    2. SSA #21 Introductions (Rudy Flores, Executive Director LSRCC/SSA)
    3. Chicago's Placemaking Initiatives (Commissioner Cox, Chicago Planning and Development)
    4. Chicago's Make Way for People Program (Vanessa Irizarry, Chicago Department of Transportation)
    5. Ainslie Arts Plaza Presentation + Input Activity (Jodi Mariano, Teska Associates)
    6. Closing Remarks (40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez)



  • PaintWorks Lincoln Square

    PaintWorks: A Call For Artists

    Call for Artists. During August of 2020, the Lincoln Square PaintWorks program solicited artists to design and install a mural on the roadway within the proposed Make Way for People project area along N. Lincoln Avenue. PaintWorks is an initiative of the Neighborhood Improvement Program that funds public murals and other art-related projects to improve the vibrancy and aesthetic appeal of our community.

    Click Here to learn more about the PaintWorks program and view artist application details.

  • All Shapes and Colors.  Artist Andrea Jablonski was commissioned in September 2020 through the Lincoln Square PaintWorks program to design the area's first street mural. Created with inspiration from flags, street signs and the Razzle Dazzle camouflage artists of WWII, Jablonski created a grid-like colorful design to encourage spaces for people to gather while still socially distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each geometric shape helps to delineate a space for seating elements that will be fluid to work with for future events planned in the plaza. The palette was decided by colors available through the specialty paint used for asphalt. The design exhibits diversity and community by bringing a variety of colors and shapes into a cohesive design. Public art, in this case, can be walked, skipped, danced on and enjoyed!

    Click Here to learn more about artist Andrea Jablonski and see her previous work.

  • Ainslie Arts Plaza

    2021 Call For Artists.  As the Ainslie Arts Plaza took shape, the Neighborhood Improvement Program sought to find an artist that would be able to develop a logo / graphic to be utilized to brand the new space. On May 10, 2021, American lettering artist and illustrator Judith Mayer was selected for this project and will unveil her work in early June.  Artwork will include welcoming features on plaza fixtures and street pole identifying banners.

  • Completion of the Plaza!

    The Ainslie Arts Plaza is Lincoln Square's newest public space, converting the underutilized 4800 block of Lincoln Avenue into a pedestrian plaza with seating, newly installed landscaping and lights, and a street mural painted by artist Andrea Jablonski.  Officially opened on Friday, May 21, 2021, the plaza is an example of tactical urbanism at work, putting into action a variety of uses for 12 - 18 months, before permanent installations for the space will be made based on community support. 

    See what's being programmed in new space today!

  • Next Steps for the Plaza & Lincoln Avenue

    The Chicago Department of Transportation, in conjunction with 40th Ward Alderman Andre Vasquez, began conducting a streetscape improvement project along Lincoln Avenue in 2021.  The project study area includes the Lincoln Avenue corridor from Western Avenue at the Ainslie Arts Plaza, north to Catalpa Avenue.  Building off the goals of the 2019 Lincoln Square Master Plan, the project aims to increase safety, improve walkability, support economic development, enhance public spaces, and support Aldermanic plans to create an Arts District in the area.

    Learn More about the streetscape project via Chicago Complete Streets.



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