The renaming could be in place by the end of the summer.
Wells was an African American journalist, suffragist and anti-lynching crusader.
RELATED: Aldermen propose Congress Parkway name change honoring Ida B. Wells
The new name would affect Congress Parkway between Grant Park and the expressway interchange at the west end of downtown. The name of Congress Parkway farther west would not be impacted.
Before the City Council meeting kicked off Wednesday, Wells' great-granddaughter attended a press conference with supporters of the name change.
"It's amazing," said Michelle Duster, Wells' great-granddaughter. "I always felt that my great grandmother needed to be honored in a way that was fitting to who she was and what she did, but I never ever really imagined a major street."
Wells was born enslaved in 1862 and moved to Chicago in 1894 and started community building, opening a black settlement house. She also had a hand in founding the NAACP. Wells worked as a an investigative journalist who documented the unjust lynching of black men. Wells was a teacher and a suffragette and city leaders say she is woven into the fabric of Chicago with this permanent street naming honor.
"Today marks a historical day for the city of Chicago. It is bittersweet honestly to know that we are just naming a street downtown after a woman and or a person of color," said Ald. Sophia King (4th Ward).