Today’s Headlines for Wednesday, June 5

  • Design Firm Proposes Turning Alleys Into Pedestrian & Retail Space (DNA)
  • Man Who Crashed at 79-90 mph, Got 30 Months Probation, Is Suing Police (Tribune)
  • Uber Runs Full-Page Ad Back by 17 Groups Opposing New Regulations on Ride-Share
  • Loop Gas Explosion Forces Multiple CTA Reroutes (Chicagoist)
  • Chicagoist Looks at the Big Marsh Bike Park Access Issue
  • The Story Behind Aurora’s New Protected Bike Lane (Active Trans)
  • Curious City: Why Do ‘L’ Lines Have So Many Twists & Turns? (WBEZ)
  • Active Trans’ Ron Burke Talks About Chicago Bike Week on WGN Radio
  • Participate in “Dump the Pump Day” Tomorrow & You Could Win a Prize (RTA)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Chicagoan

    That Curious City piece is a treat, definitely worth some time to listen to.

  • Chicago’s alleys are how we keep trash and private car access points off the street. Why would having everyone’s garages open onto a “pedestrian retail” space be better?

  • Anne A

    Welcome to a version of Manhattan – smelly public space because they *don’t* have alleys and trash is out front.

  • Chicagoan

    If you check out Frank Gehry’s 8 Spruce Street (Officially called New York by Gehry.) on Google Maps, you’ll see piles of trash on the street in front of the building.

    Manhattan: When not even living in a Frank Gehry-designed palace protects you from the trash of others.

    Note: I love me some Manhattan, even as a former Brooklyn resident. But still. Manhattan isn’t free from criticism.

  • ohsweetnothing

    Maybe you could use alleys for both trash collection and some version of pedestrian retail? Not ideal by any means but maybe the exchange is much lower rent for occupying businesses as a result. Lower barrier of entry for small local business ideas?

    …just spitballing here and haven’t thought this completely through, if that isn’t obvious by now. Private car access would still be a problem.

  • ardecila

    Because more street frontage leads to more vibrant, walkable neighborhoods. There’s nothing in Chicago like Greenwich Village; our blocks are too big for that kind of fine-grained urbanism.

    That doesn’t mean we need gross NYC-style trash pickup. Some European cities have a big dumpster on every block (in a curbside parking space). It’s not enough storage for a week’s worth of trash for a whole block, but pickup is daily or 2-3x per week.

  • Chicagoan

    Greenwich Village’s little blocks were what drew Jane Jacobs to the neighborhood, I believe. That, and the non-conforming street patterns (Greenwich Village is almost Boston-like in street layout, compared to Manhattan’s relentless grid.).

    Honestly, though, I’d rather keep Chicago’s bigger blocks if it means we get to keep our alleys.

    The one thing I never liked about New York is that you can’t avoid the trash, it’s everywhere and it’s in your face.

    New York’s density is something to admire, though.

  • planetshwoop

    There are so so so many things to think of before putting retail into alleys, which I think the piece hints at. Lincoln Square would be 100x better off tot block car access for small portions (Rockwell at the El, by Gidding’s Plaza) than to try and do retail in the alley.

    As a way to let a city expand it’s unconventional housing stock, it’s fantastic. Want to let your aging mother live nearby but maybe not in the house? Want to give your teenager his own apartment for awhile? Want to rent out your garage to a family instead of a car? I think that’s worth exploring and is more tractable than putting galleries in the alley.

  • planetshwoop

    I despise Uber and Lyft. I recognize the benefit they are claiming — it provides ride-sharing to underserved communities — but find their drivers pick up and drop off of passengers in most congested areas and block bike lanes and corners. Taxis are no angels, but seem more experienced at navigating with bikes and peds and are at least clearly marked.

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    We have enough empty retail space. I don’t think we need anymore. Years ago these were filled with small businesses. But much of what they sold is the domain of chains and big box stores…

  • It also doesn’t help that developers are simply not building small-office professional buildings anymore, like the Broadway Bank building and many others. Anyone wishing to purchase enough space for, say, a reasonable office and an outer waiting room, has to go in one of those few remaining older buildings, or get up a LOT more rent to buy a larger amount of space. Potentially much more than they need.