Both Lakeview People Spots Will Be Moving to New Locations

The Lincoln Avenue People Spot. Photo: Heritage Bikes

Say goodbye to the Heritage Bicycles People Spot.

Yesterday morning commissioners for Lakeview’s Special Service Area 27 decided that the curbside mini park should be relocated this year from the 2900 block of North Lincoln, in front of the bike and coffee shop, to a new home on the 3300 block, by Dinkel’s Bakery. The parklet had been installed at its old location during the warm months of every year since 2012, and a majority of commissioner felt it was time for a change of scenery.

“It’s been so great and successful that it’s hard for me to be OK with it leaving,” Heritage owner Michael Salvatore told me earlier this week. He was worried that the removal of the Lincoln parklet would make his block less lively. “I’m just afraid that we’re going to lose the momentum we’ve had with the People Spot.”

Dimitri Syrkin-Nicolau, the owner of two Dimo’s Pizza shops in Wrigleyville and Bucktown, has lived near Heritage for five years, and he said he showed up for the SSA meeting to show support for keeping the parklet in the same location. “Being a business owner, I know what it takes to work with the city, so I’m sympathetic,” he said.

Back in 2013, Syrkin-Nicolau unsuccessfully tried to get his own People Spot installed in the street in front of his Bucktown location on the 1600 block of north Damen. However, he says the city was never able to determine a good spot for replacing the metered parking that the parklet would displace, and there were concerns that losing the car spaces would negatively affect business in the busy retail district. Of course, People Spots have been proven to attract customers to business strips.

At yesterday’s meeting Syrkin-Nicholau voiced support for keeping the Lincoln People Spot near Heritage. “In an urban environment, places to relax are a good thing, but right now a People Spot is a difficult thing to get,” he says. “I think we should be expanding the People Spot program, rather than just moving them around. Once you move it, you throw away the asset that you have created, and I think that’s a mistake.”

The Southport Avenue People Spot. Photo: John Greenfield

Syrkan-Nicholau noted that Salvatore had printed out about 20 emails he’d received in favor of leaving the Lincoln People Spot in place, and these were on a table at the meeting for attendees to read, but nobody did so. “It seems like they had all made up their minds beforehand,” Syrkan-Nicolau says.

At the meeting, commissioner Nabil Zahrah argued that, since the neighborhoods two people spots were purchased with tens of thousands of dollars of SSA funding, which is taxpayer money, the benefits of the parklets should be spread around the neighborhood. “Nabil made that point fairly eloquently, Syrkan-Nicholas says.

In addition to relocating the Lincoln People Spot, which features café seating, the commissioners voted to move Lakeview’s other parklet, an amorphous seating area on the 3500 block of North Southport, in front of The Butcher’s Tap, to the 3600 block, by a CVS and Sushi Mura. This will depend on whether CVS is open to converting one of the neighboring parking spaces, Syrkan-Nicolau says. If they don’t agree to the swap by April, that parklet will go elsewhere.

At the meeting there was a motion to come up with a more formal policy for how long Parklets will remain at a particular location in the future, Syrkan-Nicholas says. “That way [the relocations] will be done with intention, instead of just, ‘Hey, it’s been here for a while, so let’s move it.”

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  • Pat

    Would be hard for CVS to make a case against repurposing a street spot considering they have their own 30+ space parking lot.

  • Living

    While it was a very nice outdoor spot, it is clear it had to be moved. Fair is fair, this is a taxpayer funded outdoor seating area that is benefitting one business in particular. The fact that Heritage has been able to sell coffees / lattes for several years using free taxpayer funded seating for their business is great for Heritages bottom line, but how fair is that for the hundreds of other struggling businesses that would benefit from free taxpayer funded people spots? This business in particular is bragging on CNN Money about generating 1.5 million dollars in revenue in 2015? It’s only fair to see if other small Lakeview businesses and blocks can benefit in similar fashion from the success of this taxpayer funded parklet.

  • Michael Salvatore

    Thanks for the support Luis! Also, come on, “bragging”? It was a question they asked me on that segment which was filmed for CNN Money…not sure what you want me to say?

    Seriously though, I would love to work together for something positive. Instead of always complaining, lets work on something you would like to accomplish in the neighborhood. It seems like you are always against something, what are you for and how can I help?

  • Two parking spaces (with generous space between them) at 2$ an hour between 8am and Midnight (16 hours) for 250 days is $16,000.

    But seriously folks, the city can’t find two replacement spaces. There are a ton of free spaces around the corner on both Wellington and Southport. And further I don’t believe that the current replacement price for a parking space is costing the city $8,000 per year. In fact it may be that by now the city is making money off of the parking. So really the city should be giving some of that money back to the neighborhoods to decide where to spend it, or in this case, not receive it.

    We don’t want it moved. We want another one somewhere else. By we I mean a Chicagoan who parks a car and lives in a neighborhood surrounded by businesses. That is to say I experience both realities of looking for parking and enjoying a livable neighborhood.

    Bottom Line – Keep this one and build another one! No reasons that it can’t be done.

  • Fair is to keep this one AND build another one. Fair is to charge the going rate for parking spaces, especially the free spaces being given away around the corner on both Wellington and Southport. Fair is a city with urban aminities that can’t be found in the suburbs. Take from the cars, in the city, and give to the pedestrians and urban cafe dwellers. Now that is fair. And if drivers (and parkers) complain there are always the suburbs designed especially for them.