Today’s Headlines for Tuesday, April 26

  • Residents Worry Density Will Spoil Old Town — They Should Talk to Pawar (DNA)
  • Moser: Divvy’s Good Safety Record May Be Due to Novice Riders (Chicago Mag)
  • Male Passenger Charged With Sexually Assaulting Female Uber Driver (DNA)
  • CDOT Is Trying to Eliminate Slip Lanes But Root/Halsted Is Getting a New One (DNA)
  • City Launches Pilot Program to Find Housing for People Living in Viaducts (Sun-Times)
  • Semi Driver Crashes Into House After Blowing Red Light in Englewood (ABC)
  • Naperville Launches Initiative to Better Manage Downtown Parking (Herald)
  • Chicago Firm Navteq Is Helping to Develop Self-Driving Cars (Crain’s)
  • Ain’t That America? Hoosier State Rail Service Is  Fun Way to Get from CHI to Indy (Tribune)
  • Bike-Themed Cafe The Spoke & Bird Opens a Bakery in Pilsen (DNA)
  • Huge Prince Tribute Mural Will Grace Avalon Park Wall (DNA)
  • Bike to School Day Is Next Wednesday, May 4 (Active Trans)

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  • Chicagoan

    I don’t feel like the first article title is fair, considering that Old Town is seeing two new developments that will demolish some charming late 19th/early 20th-century buildings. Not all of the development going on there is happening on surface parking lots.

  • JacobEPeters

    Agreed. I have been hoping that an Alder would put forth a proposal for transferring air rights from historic buildings to TOD projects in order to discourage demolition of existing quality architecture & further incentivize the redevelopment of parking lots, strip malls, etc.

  • Pat

    Not to mention that hotel is asking for a new driveway on a designated P-Street. I do realize that O’Brien’s already has one, but they should be trying to stitch up the cub cuts on Wells much as possible.

  • Obesa Adipose

    Even putting a development on an existing surface lot doesn’t have to ruin the streetscape – I doubt forcing a setback at 2-3 stories is going to send the developer to the poor house nor cut into the density significantly. And with all the 100+ year old buildings being town down, surly one or two facades can be salvaged and repurposed onto newer buildings in localizations like Old Town.

  • JacobEPeters

    A 7 story facade does not destroy the streetscape. I am all for setbacks & not having a 20 story streetwall everywhere, but it doesn’t need to be a 2-3 story datum line for the setback. It can have an upper limit of 8-10 stories if there are material changes, active lower floors & places where the entire 10 floor mass pulls back from the street to create a public space.

  • JacobEPeters

    To be fair, that slip lane is arguably necessary for truck access given the lack of other through streets for getting to Halsted street from industrial sites, and that the old Root alignment is being consolidated with the current Exchange street alignment. Unlike other locations in the city where the slip lane is only large enough for an car to whip around the corner without slowing down.

  • Obesa Adipose

    Do recall we’re taking about Old Town here which is why I chose the number 2-3 stories. The hotel to replace O’Brien’s has a setback starting at 6 and 8 stories which makes the shorter setback roughly twice as high as anything down the street. But, hey! it’s not 20 stories so, whew, we should be relieved.

  • JacobEPeters

    Old Town already has 6 & 7 story buildings that go to the streetwall, and the variation in heights from 1-7 stories (with more than 2 dozen taller than 3 stories between Evergreen and North). The shorter setback for the O’Brien’s Hotel development is about the same height as 4 other buildings on that block, and the variation in roof lines gives Wells its signature jumbled mix of building styles.

    If everything was replaced by 6 story buildings with no setbacks it would disrupt that, but the hotel proposal you are bemoaning includes exactly that type of haphazard setback & roof lines that is seen in the existing development pattern up and down Wells. Additionally you’re ignoring the setback after the 1st level for nearly half of the street frontage. It would be nice if the curb cut was eliminated, Old Town Oil was preserved, but claiming that the small portion of the street elevation that is 8 stories is “destroying” the character of Old Town is just distracting from the real destruction of the actual character of Old Town through the demolition of historic structures.