Today’s Headlines

  • CDOT: We’re Not Moving the Mulberry Playlot Speed Cam (DNA)
  • Pedestrian Struck, Seriously Injured at Chicago/LaSalle (NBC)
  • Cop Who Fatally Struck Man in Wheeling Was Making a Traffic Stop (Tribune)
  • Drug Bust Suspect Charged With Attempted Murder After Striking Officer With Car (DNA)
  • Antunovich Plans to Turn Rambler Building Into Garage for Hotel & Data Center (DNA)
  • Despite Fears of “Horrendous” Traffic, Lincoln Park Is Getting Less Dense (Hertz)
  • Hyde Park SSA Plans to Run Tests of Free Trolley Service This Fall (RedEye)
  • Village-Backed Eatery at Tinley Park Metra Stop Isn’t Generating Much Revenue (Tribune)
  • Lot Next to CSO May Be Turned Into Park Commemorating Route 66 (DNA)
  • Principal Appears to Pull Off Sick BMX Tricks in School Attendance Video (DNA)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Kevin M

    Interesting piece by Daniel Hertz re: Lincoln Park density. I recall a similar point being made last week by a certain savvy Streetsblog reader/commenter.

  • rohmen

    It seems as if other residents may be concerned regarding population density increasing in general in that area, but the “horrendous traffic” quote that keeps getting referenced here and other places pretty clearly complains about the added traffic congestion these projects will bring, and is not a complaint about increased density of people per se in the area. Something Hertz even acknowledges in his comments section.

    The fact that traffic congestion in that area has increasingly become a serious problem, while records support population density in that area has actually decreased, shows that population density and traffic congestion are not necessarily related and need to be addressed as separate issues in this part of Lincoln Park.

    Again, I’m surprised this resident’s quote keeps getting called out on streetsblog as anti-density, when in reality it seems to be pretty aligned with this site’s message to avoid creating car-centric neighborhoods where you could readily draw residents who would do without an automobile.

  • Jeff H

    Unfortunately the Tribune article (not linked) on the guy getting hit has the quote from the officer that he “darted in front of the car.” The NBC article seems more balanced given the limited amount of information given on the incident.

  • Anne A

    In LP and other neighborhoods, the pattern I’ve noticed is: as they become more affluent and large single family homes or condos replace higher density units that previous housed folks who weren’t as affluent, the number of cars per household and the amount those residents drive seems higher compared to those who lived there before.

  • skyrefuge

    Yeah, a more-relevant data-dive would be to check out It shows that approximately 50% of the existing households in the surrounding census tracts are car-free. So a 1:1 parking ratio seems pretty unnecessary for new development.

    Not that I’d expect very trenchant analysis from a blogger in 2014 who makes bar graphs where the Y-axis doesn’t start at 0. Ugh!

  • rohmen

    Agreed. That’s exactly what is happening. The massive 80-year-old studio and one bedroom apartment buildings in the area is likely where the majority of the population density comes from in the first place, and these buildings provide little if any private parking spots. As the lower-density buildings in the area get redeveloped, however, more and more private parking is added, which is creating a traffic nightmare. Not to mention the parking added for things like Trader Joe’s and other big box retailers who have moved to the area.

    Which is why it makes perfect sense for someone who has lived in that area for 33 years to complain about the traffic congestion a development like this will bring, while overall population density in that area has actually decreased. In fact, I’d imagine most residents that are complaining about increased “population density” a new project will bring are in reality complaining about increased automobile density that will be added.

    So, again, I’m just confused as to why this site is treating these type of developments as a good thing for the area.

  • The resident wasn’t complaining about the amount the amount of parking spaces, but the amount of residential units.

    Full quote: “Traffic’s going to be horrendous,” said Cheryl Cornell, who’s lived in the area for 33 years. “You’re putting 50 units where none existed. They’re going to put 78 units where none existed. … That area is horribly congested already. Just drive down Diversey on a weekend. It’s scary.”

  • skyrefuge

    If human-density is the goal, then these developments *are* good things for the area. The one on the north side of Diversey is squeezing 50 units into a 40-foot wide parking lot ( shows a building was there in 1973, and gone by 1988). The one on the south side is replacing a one-level 17,000 sq ft. grocery store that’s been there since 1927 with 73 units. So even though the individual units will surely be larger than the existing average in the area, they’re creating a ton of units where none have existed in the recent past. That’s the opposite of converting a 3-flat into a single-family home.

    But yes, if limiting automobile-density is the goal, then these developments, with their 1:1 parking ratios, are bad things for the area. Even if that ratio was reduced to 1 parking space for every 2 units (matching the existing car-ownership ratio), that would still bring a lot more cars into the neighborhood, and the ratio would still be higher than the average, since, as you note, the massive 80-year-old apartment buildings nearby generally have 0 parking.

    Magically get the developers to build their buildings with zero parking, and then everyone wins! (well, except the car-owning residents in the neighborhood who rely on street-parking).

  • Which graph was that?

  • “these type of developments” are a good thing for the area because they increase the housing supply in an in-demand area, while also (potentially) increasing the constituency of support for resources to be spent on building infrastructure for more efficient modes of transportation in order to deal with said car traffic congestion problem.

  • skyrefuge

    Not here, the first two graphs in the Hertz piece. The first one makes it look at a glance like the area lost over 50% of its housing units between 2000 and 2010, when it’s really like 2.5%. Which he notes in the text, so he’s not even trying to be nefarious and underhanded, he’s just making bad graphs because…ooh, pictures?

  • Buff Bagwell IV

    It’s no surprise that a village backed eatery at the Metra stop is struggling. If the location was so great, it wouldn’t need village backing!!

  • DanielKH

    One thing I’ve learned from blogging is that some people get really excited about The Right Way to do graphs and maps. And a) sometimes I do that too, and b) I’m definitely not the world’s best on this skill, but: it is just not the case that everyone has agreed you have to start the Y axis at 0. In this case, it would have made it almost impossible to actually determine the numbers for each year. I see many, many authors who do the same thing for the same reason all the time.

  • DanielKH

    I’m not sure that’s true – even if these households have the same or more cars per HH, I’m not at all sure they drive more. As these neighborhoods have gentrified, transit use has actually increased pretty dramatically – and it’s not, as we’ve been discussing, because population is rising.

  • skyrefuge

    Yeah, sorry, my first comment made it seem like I’m more of a hard-liner on the Y-axis issue than I really am. I’m sure there are cases when it makes sense to shift the Y-axis, but this was not one of them. If you need to “zoom in” on the graph in order to be able to “see anything”, that’s an indication that there isn’t much to see, and the graph isn’t very useful (unless you’re trying to show the *lack* of change). A line of text is just as informative in that case, with the advantage of being less misleading.

    Though looking again, I guess with the first graph, maybe rather than examining the broad trend, you were just trying to answer the question “have enough housing units gone away in recent years to ‘make room’ for the addition of these 2 developments?” In that case, I would have made a graph showing “The CHANGE in housing units since 1980” that starts at 0 and then goes below the y=0 axis, ending at -800 in 2010. And then maybe make a “future” column showing that even with the added 128 units, the bar still remains well below the x-axis.

  • skyrefuge

    Any thoughts on what that efficient transportation infrastructure could be? The area is already pretty swarmed with bus lines. An LSD BRT would be about as far away (0.6 mi) from these new developments as the Brown Line-only L stop on Diversey is (not sure what’s considered “too far” for transit). Since my girlfriend lives right next to these developments, we’re just hoping they don’t cause “our” Divvy station next to Marketplace to be moved away!

  • Kevin M

    Does anyone know what cities such as New York, Boston, Cleveland, Portland, OR, or San Francisco have in terms of parking requirements in their residential zoning ordinances? How does Chicago compare to its peers in this regard?

    Who do you think would be resistant changing Chicago’s ordinance so that it required less automobile parking for residential-zoned buildings? Would today’s city-resident automobile drivers care about the needs of tomorrow’s automobile-driving Chicago residents? We know developers are against the parking requirement, we know the city’s (significant) population of car-free residents would be impartial towards or against them, and we know the Mayor’s office has been pushing alternative transportation usage since Emanuel took office. Who would fight a change to Chicago’s parking ordinance, and would these defenders really be able to keep the status quo?

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Couple things to consider:

    1) many of the side streets had two and three flats, that now are single family homes.

    2) families used to live in apartments. When I lived at Surf and Pine Grove over 30 years ago, I had a three bedroom two bath apt (w heat and parking for $660/mo, was that sweet). There were a number of families that lived in that building. Now you may have just singles and couples.

    3) In the past, a lot of apt on the northside you had room-mates. Again, more people living single than double now.

    Car traffic is relative. If you live in the area, you do so because it is attractive to walk to nearby restaurants and shopping and other attractions. Work downtown, plenty of public transport. But its not the people who live there that is causing the congestion. If that was the case, take a look at Sheridan Road in Edgewater after rush hour. All those high rises and very little traffic generated from the residents. Mostly its people driving thru to get to LSD.

    More popular the area the greater the draw from outside the area. So unless you want to dig a moat around the Diversey Harbor Area you’re going to have traffic. The area between Clark and Sheridan on Diversey has always been congested. It funnels people down to the lakefront for the Zoo, the Nature Museum, the Harbor, the mini golf and driving range, the lakefront in general And don’t forget all the employees of St. Joes and the medical buildings nearby. And there will be a sizeable increase with the new wing of St. Joseph’s Hospital. Hey everyone wants that Trader Joes, but no one likes the traffic now its here. But you can’t get a Trader Joes unless you have the traffic and the parking to support it. Love those bars on Clark Street and around the Cubs stadium? Hey so do other people. They come to Lakeaview/Boystown and the Cubs. And if you chose to live in that area, you should accept it or not move there. If you lived in the area for 30 years you should know it too.

    At some point people who drive thru the area if they find traffic annoying will move over to other streets on the grid. And if it really gets bad, they will avoid the area entirely. I’d rather shop in the suburbs than go to North and Clybourn on a weekend. But whom am I to say just because I don’t like it, someone else doesn’t feel different.