Developer Proposes Just What Lakeview Doesn’t Need: Tons of Parking

Looking east at the proposed multi-use development. Courtesy Addison Park on Clark.

A new development threatens to degrade the pedestrian-oriented nature of one of Chicago’s most walkable neighborhoods by building excessive car parking at a mixed-use project close to transit. In Wrigleyville, M&R Development is proposing 148 houses, 169,000 square feet of retail space, a health club, and 493 parking spaces at Addison Avenue, Clark Street, and Sheffield Avenue, a short walk from the Addison ‘L’ station.

This summer, the City Council relaxed parking minimums for exactly this kind of development – a commercial and residential mix near transit – because Mayor Emanuel has set out to reduce driving and congestion in the city while encouraging more walking, biking, and transit use. The new code allows the developer to build zero parking spaces for commercial components and up to 50 percent fewer spaces for residential components. But M&R isn’t taking advantage. And while the development is what’s known as “planned development” – it will undergo a negotiation between the developer, alderman, and the Department of Housing and Economic Development that can bypass parking rules – the developer is still proposing more than what would be required if it wasn’t a PD.

The Wrigleyville developer’s PD amendment application specifies that 148 of the 493 parking spaces are the required “accessory” spaces for residents, with the remaining being “non-accessory” spaces. Meanwhile, under the new rules, M&R could build as few as 74 spaces because of the site’s proximity to the Red Line.

The marketing materials on the Wrigleyville development’s website say that the project will “improve under-utilized land.” This is somewhat true, as it replaces surface parking lots with productive and useful buildings, adding housing and retail. If not for the 345 extra car parking spaces, it would actually score quite highly on the Institute for Transportation Development Policy’s TOD standard.

But the project quadruples the number of automobile parking spaces on the site. It’s unavoidable for a project like this to generate new trips – but with all that additional parking, too many of those trips will be by car, exacerbating traffic congestion, slowing down buses, and making the streets less appealing for biking and walking. Instead the developers should be taking advantage of the new zoning code to reduce parking, adding value to the neighborhood without clogging the streets with more cars.

Roscoe and Clark
Small sidewalks on a portion of Clark Street near the site clogged with cars. Photo: hedgehog3457.

On the plus side, the Wrigleyville developer proposes widening the eight-foot Clark Street sidewalks by four feet. But as any bro knows, this still isn’t enough to keep people out of the roadway at night. The Addison and Sheffield sidewalks will remain as-is.

Allan Mellis, development watcher and director for Wrightwood Neighbors Association, said in a statement to the City Council about this proposal that it will add to traffic congestion alongside the new Cubs hotel and year-round event plaza. He also quoted Peter Bynoe, a former member of the Chicago Plan Commission, as saying, “they are not making any more streets [to handle the additional automobiles].”

Bynoe was right. The streets can’t get any bigger or wider, but they can get more efficient. It’s time for developers, the aldermen, city officials who will approve this development, and residents, to stop saying, “We aren’t Amsterdam. Everyone drives so you need to provide parking.” Of course we aren’t Amsterdam (who else is?) and a lot of people drive, but the fact is that continuing to build car-oriented infrastructure will ensure Chicago never gets to a point where walking, biking, and transit are the more convenient options for many kinds of trips.

M&R should go back to the drawing board and give the neighborhood something it needs more: wider sidewalks for bike parking and cafés, bus routes that aren’t slowed to a crawl by single-occupancy vehicles, and a real contribution to Chicago’s future as a transit-oriented city.

The planned development has yet to be approved by the zoning committee.

  • The neighborhood needs to stop this just like Wrigley’s 500 space garage was stopped, maybe through a petition. The “retail” the developer proposes will likely be eating/drinking establishments (this is what the developer’s website and news sources have said), and the health club together mean there is no need for that many parking spaces. There needs to be a parking maximum, not just a relaxed minimum. Parking affects everyone in a neighborhood and creates tons of externalities that will be borne by those who don’t drive.

    At a time when we should be looking at ways to pedestrianize this entire area at times (they already close streets during games), parking capacity should not be added without removing it elsewhere.

  • Anonymous

    Fighting this sort of thing is really getting exhausting, but the last thing we need in and around Wrigleyville are parking garages that encourage people to drive into the neighborhood, rather than use the abundance of transit options we have.

  • The thing is next to two bus routes, down the street from several more, and adjacent to 24-hour train service. The neighborhood is full of daily life amenities and car-share for times when you need a car. A garage of this size will cause more trip generation than necessary. It gets tiring to have to fight back at these things but the Cubs wanted a garage and they’re not getting it anymore. There will have to be a petition for this one too.

  • Anonymous

    IIRC, it wasn’t the Cubs that pushed the garage, it was Tunney, because he’s a moron who thinks that more parking will lead to less parking problems in the neighborhood, not that it’ll just lead to more cars coming into the neighborhood. This project got a big increase in the proposed parking along the way and I would be unsurprised if Tunney is the one pushing it.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    As someone who’s tried to drive into Wrigleyville for various reasons (coming from Skokie, carpooling to Exit, just lazy), I would’ve loved to have had the option to pay for parking at a 24-hour garage rather than drive in circles for an hour looking for a spot that wasn’t permit-only.

    That said, 493 spaces is way too many, and it’s just going to encourage more driving rather than give existing drivers an alternative to circling past Einstein Brothers one more time in the hope a spot has opened up.

  • Back when I had no kid and far more free time (not unrelated!) I wanted to access evening programs at the Center on Halsted. My options as a west-side resident were 1.5hrs each way on transit, or 25min driving. Unfortunately, there was next to nowhere to put my car, other than sneaking it into the bottom corner of the Whole Foods lot in that building and praying not to get ticketed.

    493 is still way too much, but I bet the developers are hoping to make out like bandits on game days selling the excess … which is basically what the land was doing before, plus a lot of extra uses like residential and commercial, now. Maybe something like 30-40 for the building’s own use and some percentage of the previous game-day-lot capacity, and offering it up as affordable neighborhood parking for all the other surrounding retail and destinations could work well (as long as it’s understood that nobody ELSE gets to build more new garages just because this one went in)?

  • Anonymous

    Couple random thoughts on this.

    AT&T has this giant central office on Sheffield just south of Addison. It’s an eyesore that I’m assuming has been there for decades and is needed for basic service in the area. Developing around it seems tricky and I could understand why putting a parking facility adjacent to it makes sense. No one would want to live right there, there should probably be some buffer like a garage in between.

    The amount of parking spaces does seem odd given it’s a stone’s throw from the red and purple lines.

    As parking spaces for Cubs games this sounds horrible. First, everyone knows there’s PLENTY of community parking available. Second, do you know how insanely miserable it is getting a car out of a garage like this after a game? One or two gates and maybe 250 cars all trying to leave at the same time. Awful.

    Who would want to live in a LUXURY condo directly across the street from Wrigley (and an El line/station) is a complete mystery to me. There’s a reason all of the places within a spitting distance of Wrigley are crummy rentals populated by 20-somethings.

    I give this plan a .004% chance. There are ALWAYS plans for this admittedly ugly block and nothing ever happens.

  • CL

    I agree. I recently went through the same thing when I needed to drive to the area. ALL of the street parking is permit only or 2-hour maximum.

    A much smaller garage with pricey parking would be a good thing. If the price is high enough, people will be discouraged from driving unless it’s necessary.

  • Anonymous

    (Not that important, but isn’t Exit on North Ave?)

  • Ryan Wallace

    There are actually LOTS of parking garages in the area, that’s the point, they are all under-used and not well advertised, but they are already there (because of stupid minimum parking rules).

  • We need higher gas prices on the order of 7-10 bucks a gallon in order for people to stop using their cars. But then we would also need a good way to bring consumer goods and food in too, I wish we could have an underground distribution system, get rid of the trucks.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    (Yes, Exit’s on North Ave. It’s half a mile from the Red Line and a mile from the Blue Line but just off 90/94, so if you’re meeting a group for dinner in Wrigleyville before going there [Pro tip: lasagna + corsets = bad idea], it’s nice to carpool and give everyone a lift home or at least to the ‘L’ when you leave at 4 a.m. Similarly, Neo on Clark is over half a mile from the ‘L,’ so that’s another one where it’s nice to carpool and park, although it’s always been easy to catch a $5 cab ride from there to the Red Line.)

  • Alex Oconnor

    Preposterous. A dereliction of duty in design & regulatory oversight in a city that alleges itself to be green. The city and developers need to leverage our transit assets; not make a mockery of them.’

    Chicago & its developers have done a piss poor job in leveraging those assets as this makes clear:

    Chicago has aspirations to be a global city; we are lucky we have legacy infrastructure that at least allows us to pretend we are. Plans like this one are a degenerate, retrograde and ultimately destructive and stifling.

    There ought to be not parking whatsoever.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Um no not all the rentals are as you describe. And a 20 minute redline commute to the Loop and a 16 minute commute to State & Chicago is attractive to people who do not consider their cars a prosthetic.

  • Alex Oconnor

    If you cannot afford the car trip then do not drive. There are already off street pay parking options in Lakeview several quite close to the Center on Halsted if you are willing to pay the price of your choice to drive. Parking is not free nor should it be.

    I recommend UCLA’s Donald Shoup’s book for elucidation ‘The high cost of free parking’

  • Alex Oconnor

    There are already pay options in lakeview if you chose to drive there. You just have to pay market rate as you should.

  • I’m familiar with his work, and it’s been a long time since I tried to drive over there, but I can say I used to circle a wide area three or four times and not see any pay options, not even open metered spots. Possibly a failure of advertising rather than a complete lack of parking, but it comes to the same thing in the end.

    There really is no other option besides the Center for QUILTBAG services anywhere in the city, and if you don’t live on the train lines you’re doomed to over an hour’s commute to get there without a car.

  • “no open metered spots”

    Shoup recommends pricing the metered spots such that 80% of the spaces are occupied so that there’s always a free spot on a block for the person who’s willing to pay for it.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Yes. Exactly. Parking especially in this town is such an under priced asset that it is often over utilized. This has been somewhat mitigated by the recent raises via the meter deal (irrespective of the deals merits) it has led to more open street spots.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    Did you not read the parts of my comment where I said I would’ve loved to have paid (market rate) for parking and then acknowledged that adding 493 spaces would contribute to auto dependence, as Shoup says?

  • Alex Oconnor

    Then why didn’t you pay for it instead of driving around looking for cheap underpriced parking. Put your money where your mouth is. Talk is cheap. Garage space does exist near wrigleyfield

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    SpotHero only shows eight public garages/lots spread across greater Wrigleyville. Only five are open 24 hours. One of those, 3134 N Clark, has limited public parking because spaces are also reserved for Sport’s Authority customers and monthly leases. Are there more?

    Much of Wrigleyville’s land is dedicated to parking, but, unlike in the Loop, on the Magnificent Mile, in Lincoln Square, or in Chinatown, it’s not easy for visitors to pay to park and leisurely stroll through the neighborhood. Despite the neighborhood’s walkability and proximity to transit, Wrigleyville’s curbside parking is reserved for and filled by residents’ cars, private property stored indefinitely on public land for the cost of a city sticker and a permit. Limited-time metered spots and free customer-only lots encourage the store-to-store driving “The High Cost of Free Parking” decries. Dormant lots contribute to sprawl and open for parking only on game days, the worst days to drive in Wrigleyville.

    Parking should encourage people who are coming from or going to an area best reached by car to stop and spend money in the area. It shouldn’t be storing residents’ cars they never use at lower-than-market rates. It shouldn’t be sitting dormant waiting for a 7-Eleven customer or a game day.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    If that’s what you meant, in the future, please say that the people in charge of pricing should raise pricing in order to discourage overuse and free up spots for people who are willing to pay, rather than telling people who’ve said we were willing to pay that we should’ve been willing to pay.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    Initially, I didn’t know where the garages were, and garages I tried, like the one at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, closed too early to meet my needs. I didn’t drive to Wrigleyville that often, and usually I found street parking quickly. Each time I found myself driving in circles for 90 minutes, I vowed never to drive to Wrigleyville again. (It’s like an Alpine village accessible only by Red Line funicular!) Then months would pass, and I would forget how bad the parking situation could be and drive there without first looking up the locations and hours of all the parking garages. I still didn’t know where the garages were.

    That loop repeated over and over. Now most of my Wrigleyville friends have moved out of state, and I am ecstatically car-free. About once a year I will arrive in Wrigleyville in somebody else’s car and still not know where the garages are. I just looked them up so I could make an informed reply to Ryan Wallace, below, but I will forget and someday soon will be in the passenger seat, going in circles.

    Constructively, I need to remember to research garage locations and hours before I travel to Wrigleyville by car. CDOT could improve road signs indicating where public parking is available. The parking garages could improve their signage, extend their hours, and increase awareness through advertising, such as fliers distributed to local residents.

  • Rob Rion

    The other problem with Wrigleyville and the greater Lakeview area is that even though it is served by the Red line that really only connects directly from the Sough or North. It is almost impossible to reasonably get there from the west and northwest by transit. You can take a bus but it takes forever. Beyond the Ashland BRT which will help out that corridor a BRT on Irving Park connecting directly to the west/northwest out to O’hare would really help getting people out of their cars.

  • Katja

    Ooh ooh, I know! Let’s put trucks on their own special road. Then we could have, like, a bunch of them together with only one engine really and it’d get a whole lot of stuff from point A to point B with no impact on interstate traffic! :D

  • Anonymous
  • Alex Oconnor

    Please you are too damn lazy to find the garages that are available miss money bags; and ever since the change over on meters which raised the hourly rate for street parking; street parking has been quite available. Either you are lazy or you are lying. And to top it off you could park perhaps on Ashland and walk based on your comment you could probably use it.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Only 5 ….boo hoo……maybe we should pave over belmont harbor

  • Alex Oconnor

    Any place “Wrigleyville…..which does not exist by the way” included..along the north lake front is not an area… did you phrase it….lets quote you…” best reached by car”…is never best reached by car. But thanks for playing. You can visit your doctor to remove your car seat from your derriere.

  • Alex Oconnor

    It…a parking space should just be dormant …sitting….waiting for you. Yearning for you.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Move to the city and get yourself a sticker. Else clam up.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Dinner in “Wrigleyville”?? ….the place the doesn’t exist …your restaurant choices or lack there off leave more to be desired than your transit mode predilection. Seriously, there is no place within 1/4 mile of wrigley field worthy of destination dining.Oh Try walking to Neo.You probably could use it. I’ve never driven there. Though I’ve rolled out of a cab on the way home.

  • Alex Oconnor


  • Alex Oconnor

    I can walk in 35 minutes. Bike in about 12 or so. Try it some time.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Alternatively drive to a somewhat remote EL stop or bus stop and take that.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Shoup is not not really concerned with “auto-dependence” as he is is trying to assure that drivers bear the full cost of their choice to drive. As you have so eloquently demonstrated drivers generally do not , nor do they prefer to take responsibility for the cost they impose, and they love to foist the blame for the collective choice they share with thousands of other drivers on everyone but drivers.

  • Alex Oconnor

    That is your lack of responsibility. Your lack of responsibility as a driver.

  • Alex Oconnor

    Or you can engage in theft of service and trespass as you have advocated above. Or you can travel responsibly. You made your choice known.

  • I’d like to see you try it from Cicero and Division. Also, I am an ‘interested but concerned’ cyclist; I can’t handle busy fast streets, so that’s mostly out.

    Now I live up north and it would be somewhat more convenient, but I no longer have any weekday evenings available, so it’s a moot point.

  • That’s what took 1.5 hours — lake street El to red line. I believe I did say how long my CTA version took.

  • Anna Schibrowsky

    Oh, Alex Oconnor, you are a fun troll! I am going to keep feeding you, but I am going to condense my replies to one post.

    The link you gave me for “The High Cost of Free Parking” has an excerpt available for free online, and this is something Shoup actually writes on page 3: “Free parking helps to explain this extreme automobile
    dependence, rapid urban sprawl, and extravagant energy use.” So that gave me the idea that Shoup is concerned about auto dependence, among other things.

    If it’s my responsibility to locate parking before I leave, then, OK, I’m irresponsible. I’m now an irresponsible cyclist. I don’t check CDOT’s bike parking finder before I leave. I expect there to be some rack, sign post, or fence to which I can lock my bike, and I will drive my bike around until I find a suitable lockup place.

    I’m not sure what gives you the idea I don’t live in the City of Chicago, or that I didn’t have a city sticker when I had a car. When I wrote, “coming from Skokie,” I meant work in Skokie. As a city resident and former sticker-holder, I’m going to keep chatting with you.

    I’m saying parking spaces shouldn’t be dormant – lying fallow until a Cubs game. That land should be put to better use, or the parking spaces should be in use and priced to turn over so motorists can find a space but be incentivized not to park there forever. Steven says Shoup says 20% of metered parking spaces should be waiting for a parking motorist at a given time. That seems overly optimistic for Lakeview/Wrigleyville, but, yes, I expect to find one open garage, lot, metered, or unmetered nonpermit spot within 30 minutes of driving around looking for one and within five blocks of my destination.

    Wrigleyville is an unofficial neighborhood enclave within the neighborhood of Lakeview. I don’t know about the parking situation in West Lakeview, so I am talking specifically about Wrigleyville, give or take a few blocks. I can just call it Lakeview if you prefer.

    Let me rephrase: Parking *in attractive neighborhoods including Lakeview* should encourage people who are coming from or going to an area best reached by car *such as most of Skokie, Schaumburg, Calumet City, Darien, Green Bay, or Peoria* to stop and spend money in *that attractive neighborhood.* Parking in the Loop does this. From what I’ve seen, most of the parking in Lakeview is lower-than-market-rate resident-permit parking, which encourages residents of this walkable neighborhood to buy cars they rarely use and park them on public land for next to nothing.

    Yes, only five 24-hour small garages/lots – some mixed-use (public, customer, monthly lease) – spread over three square miles in a neighborhood where parking is notoriously difficult but, deceptively, rarely impossible.

    Again, Wrigleyville is an unofficial neighborhood enclave within Lakeview. I’ve never gone to Lakeview just for the food, but when I’ve met friends who lived in the neighborhood for dinner, I’ve enjoyed the food at Ann Sather, the now-closed Cousins location, and the sushi spots along Broadway as well as food my friends cooked in their own homes.

    I haven’t been to Lakeview for a while, so that’s good to hear that street parking is now available! Ashland would be at least a mile from my old destinations in Lakeview, and that’s too far for me. You can criticize me all you want, but the reality is I don’t want to have to walk more than about six tenths of a mile from where I’ve parked. If there’s nothing within five blocks of my destination, at that point I feel I may as well go park at home and come back on the ‘L,’ which defeats the time and fuel savings of trip chaining.

    Yeah, I could probably use more walking, but it’s slow so I’m going to keep biking instead. I have a need for two-wheeled speed.

  • Ryan Wallace

    For those interested I have started a petition to urge the developer to reduce the amount of parking (hopefully closer to 100 rather than 500):

  • Ryan Wallace
  • Ryan Wallace
  • Ian

    Great post. I’m a new Lakeview resident, recent transplant from NYC, and one of the most shameful, anti-urban things about this city is it’s excessive parking lots and car-oriented culture. Folks don’t seem to care about the air we breath or the fact that pedestrian oriented cities, like big, dense East Coast cities like NYC, Philly, and Boston, do a much better job growing small business corridors in highly pedestrian areas. People in cars tend not to shop local because they’re looking for parking lots. (And burning tons of fossil fuels. Thanks. There’s a perfectly sexy train right over there.)

  • jeff wegerson

    Your focus on walkability is primary. The fumes issue is going away and in some years will be gone. But the walkability issue and the car oriented issues will remain.


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