Today’s Headlines for Tuesday, January 8

  • Legislation Would Let Pritzker Replace Illinois Tollway Board (Tribune)
  • Aldermen Expected to Reject 20K-Person Soccer Stadium Due to Traffic Concerns (Tribune)
  • Mendoza Floats “Lakefront Tax” on Higher-Priced Homes (Crain’s)
  • Witness: Driver Intentionally Struck and Killed Carlos Posados, 22, in West Chatham (ABC)
  • Man Gets 3 Years in Prison for Punching a Metra Conductor (Sun-Times)
  • Police Roll Out More Cars Equipped With License Plate Reader Tech (Sun-Times)
  • Active Trans Looks at Elgin Bike Hub’s Advocacy Efforts
  • Sound Collage of Chicagoans Discussing Favorite Spots Is Playing on Pace Buses (Block Club)
  • Why Is the Stretch of the Pedway Near Macy’s Such a Mess During the Winter? (Tribune)
  • Save the Date: Transport Chicago Conference Takes Place June 14

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

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  • Cameron

    RE: Aldermen Expected to Reject 20K-Person Soccer Stadium Due to Traffic Concerns

    What’s missing from all discussions of Lincoln Yards traffic concerns is a real transit plan. There’s been talk of renovating the Clybourn Metra station, adding some water taxi stops was mentioned, and the vaguest ideas of how to repurpose the Cherry Ave line have been thrown out in passing, but there’s been no substantial discussion of transit. Transit planning needs to be central to this project. The plan needs to show how transit will be integrated, and how it will be funded.

  • BlueFairlane

    This is one of those situations increasingly common in Chicago where people are willing to come out and take a strong, vocal stand for what they don’t want here, but find it way too difficult to work for what they do want. Saying no is easy. Saying yes takes effort. So this is going to be a very large empty lot for a while.

  • david vartanoff

    If transit were as “automatic”as potable water, sewer, and electrical service for a new development,”no” would not be so necessary.

  • rohmen

    I tend to agree with your assessment in general, but this is a project where I do think valid concerns on transit and traffic access are a big stumbling block to get over.

    I know Sterling Bay tried to address those points in its plan (how well I think is open for debate), but that area around Ashland/Armitage is already a train wreck in terms of traffic (I’d wager it’s one of the worst spots in the City), and it’s hard for most to probably imagine a huge development going in until those issues are fixed.

  • FG

    Do you have a link to the Macy’s Pedway story?

  • Mike Harris
  • Tooscrapps
  • BlueFairlane

    Oh, this part of town definitely has issues that need to be addressed, but I wonder how high the threshold will be for all the various parties with a stake in this thing to consider any plan adequate. I kind of think the bar to overcome the automatic pushback that always seems to come with anything new in Chicago is going to be huge, and that a lot of stakeholder concerns are going to wind up contradicting and blocking each other. And on top of that, there’s going to be the constant assumption that anything that does come of this will be rigged by some nefarious system of cronyism, and that we should just block the whole thing.

    I think a lot of people see this thing as a rare opportunity to remake an entire North Side neighborhood near downtown, but they look at it from about a half-dozen opposing angles. They want it to be big and flashy and small and comfortable and absolutely perfect in every possible way to every possible person, and out of all that, you’re going to wind up with a big mess that boils down to absolutely nothing, at least not before the economy tanks and you wind up unable to find a developer who wants to make the investment. If I were a betting man, I’d say that in a decade, this is still largely empty.

  • Carter O’Brien

    The other possibility is that if the economy and housing markets tank that the space gets sliced up into smaller parcels that can be more easily built up; this most basic form of real estate speculation is what put Chicago on the map, after all.

    But as a lifelong cyclist here, I would put crossing Ashland while heading north on Elston to be the single most dangerous area on the North Side, thanks to traffic that waits until the last second to hang right and turn from Elston to Ashland. I’ve had more life-passing-before-my-eyes near-miss moments at this single space than across the rest of the City put together.

  • rohmen

    It’s definitely a chicken or the egg problem.

    Without this sort of development getting off the ground, I doubt the City will ever invest the funds needed to make those intersections (and transit to Goose Island) any better. You’re also right that people are going to take issues with any plan, including residents who live over there and will literally contest anything because they don’t want ANYTHING moving in next to them.

    That said, I just can’t get behind what Sterling Bay put out. No way simply expanding Metra service, and running a BRT line to the loop, makes that area better and helps service a 20,000 person stadium. They have to get a workable east-west transit solution figured out to deal with the Armitage and Cortland mess, and even a project this size seems to not be able to get the City motivated to explore a solution on that point.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Whoops, sorry about that; I’ve added the link. Thanks Mike.

  • Anne A

    I agree with Carter about crossing Ashland to NB Elston being one of the most dangerous intersections on the north side.

  • Austin Busch

    This is one of the neighborhoods that will likely not change until it reaches a breaking point, and they haven’t yet. A development like this would have the locals change their minds about traffic issues in the area. It’s not painful enough to do anything about yet, only to complain about.

  • The egg comes first. Something that wasn’t a chicken lays a mutated egg that hatches a chicken. The same for LY. The city needs to put down new transit infrastructure that undergrids the new LY neighborhood. It is needed anyway for the surrounding neighborhoods.

    North, Fullerton and Ashland all could use at least bus lanes now and then BRT later without LY.

    Metra needs to begin frequent trains within the city and near suburbs.

    Bikes need 606 connected to Clybourn etc. Elston could use some curb protected approaches to Ashland with right turn lane for cars to their right.

    Big single developer developments are always boring. For vibrancy and interest there need to be lots of developers both companies and individuals.

  • R.A. Stewart

    The city of Chicago seems to have an aversion to east-west transit in general. And no, a bus that arrives every 15 minutes at best and goes slower than street traffic at its slowest is not workable east-west transit. I don’t know why City Hall and the CTA have such a problem even acknowledging this.

  • It is a ridership neighborhood not a coverage one. :)