A New “Pedestrian Street” Designation on Ashland Avenue Will Be Only 50 Feet Long

Rendering of building at 3720-3722 N Ashland
Rendering of building at 3720-3722 N Ashland

A proposed ordinance to designate 50 feet of Ashland Avenue as a “Pedestrian Street” underscores the popularity of the city’s TOD ordinance that reduces a building’s car parking requirements.

Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th Ward) plans to designate the single property at 3720-3722 N Ashland Ave. as being on a “Pedestrian Street”, a special zoning classification that is intended to preserve a block’s existing pedestrian-oriented character.

Designating a block, or two properties, as a P-Street carries some hefty requirements: No businesses can have a drive-through here, car-oriented businesses auto repair shops and carwashes are banned, and there are design requirements for new construction and renovations that ensure among other features, a transparent façade between the pedestrian and the business.

Normally this block of Ashland Ave. wouldn’t ever get such a designation because it has little ground floor commercial and retail. A block to the west, however, is Lincoln Avenue, which has its own P-Street designation and has a lot of ground floor commercial and retail uses.

The only benefit that I could think of, before asking Pawar’s office, was that the P-Street designation would increase the allowable distance a property could be and still build little or no car parking.

A mixed use-zoned property within 1,320 feet (1/4 mile) of a CTA or Metra station has a minimum parking requirement of 50 percent of normally required; if that property is on a P-Street, then the distance doubles to 2,640 feet (1/2 mile). A property owner can get that minimum parking requirement down to zero if they apply through the “administrative adjustment” process.

The property at 3720 N Ashland Ave is about 172 feet from the maximum distance of the Addison Brown Line station, and the property at 3722 N Ashland Ave. is about 323 feet away.

Ernie Constantino, the planning & development director, confirmed my guess, saying that “without the pedestrian street [designation], it was just shy of the 1/4 mile requirement.”

The pink line shows where the city's shortest "Pedestrian Street" zoning designation will be.
The pink line shows where the city’s shortest “Pedestrian Street” zoning designation will be.

The property owner, Robert Managan, intends to build a 4-story building with 12 dwelling units and a single ground floor commercial or retail space with only four parking spaces. Normally, the owner would have to provide 12 car parking spaces for the residences, but zero spaces for the commercial use because it’s too small.

Constantino also said the 47th Ward office designated another short Pedestrian Street on the east side of Clark Street between Ainslie and Argyle for a development at 4906-18 N Clark, a length of about 150 feet. That property is 1,056 feet shy of being in the normal TOD area.

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