Today’s Headlines for Tuesday, March 5

  • LY Project Doubles Affordable Units — “$1.3M in TIF Subsidy per Affordable Unit” (Tribune)
  • Badly Beaten, Seriously Injured Man Found on the Red Line at Harrison Stop (ABC)
  • Light Snow This Morning Caused Multiple Crashes on Area Expressways (Tribune)
  • How to Advocate for Bike/Walk Education in Schools (Active Trans)
  • Village Funds, State Grant to Pay for $2.9M E. Dundee Road Project, Including Path (Tribune)
  • A Cheap Trick? Less Than a Year After Launching DoBi, Lime Leaves Rockford (Chicago Inno)
  • Don’t Worry, the Mechanics Won’t Be Cooking at Heritage’s New Cafe/Bike Shop (Eater)
  • Deadline for Presentation Proposals for the 6/14 Transport Chicago Conference is 3/18

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

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  • Tooscrapps

    That $1.3M figure is disingenuous at best. $800M is for infrastructure, which yes, includes roads. I don’t see the same “analysis” of new L stations or bike lanes that spur developments that include affordable units.

    LY Project Doubles Affordable Units — ‘$1.3M in TIF Subsidy per Affordable Unit” opines Ramirez-Rosa

  • planetshwoop

    LIME leaving Rockford should remind us that if we shift infrastructure to Uber/Lyft they could easily drop service with no remedy.

  • Tooscrapps

    Or jack up prices.

  • Carter O’Brien

    Except that in this case without the infrastructure the project will not proceed at all. Or to put it another way, nobody is pitching this infrastructure as a high-priority need for *existing* Chicago taxpayers.

  • Tooscrapps

    Very much agree with your sentiment about existing taxpayers. I’m not sure why this development doesn’t deserve infrastructure when every single other existing development in the City has gotten it as a right. Infrastructure is a primary role of the City.

    I think framing this as an affordable housing issue is bad faith. LY isn’t a housing/displacement issue. Would John be highlighting that tweet if all the TIF went to bike lanes, paths, and public transit? How much affordable housing did the Quincy or IMD station rehabs, both of which used TIF, create? Does it even matter?

  • rohmen

    I agree that the TIF funding for infrastructure is a red herring here, but I do think the affordable housing concerns are legitimate. Sure, it’s not displacement, but they’re building essentially a new neighborhood in a very non-organic way. If this was just developed piecemeal, you’d potentially see variety in housing stock like you would in any neighborhood that builds over time. Instead, with LY in this form, you basically get a luxury community (gated by price point) dropped in whole form. It’s probably fair to question if that’s really how the City wants to see new new neighborhoods take shape.

  • Carter O’Brien

    That’s the sticky wicket. Developers always pitch their projects as a net win for the taxpayers, but taxpayers usually suspect that all of those development profits come out of somewhere besides thin air, and subsidies seem to be as likely a suspect as the magic of market forces.

    Chicago/this site in general is a little more complicated than when this kind of development is being proposed for empty land to be annexed, of course.

    Adding extra confusion to the fire is this site wasn’t formally a residential/mixed-use one, so the argument also revolves around what the City’s responsibilities are when land use is changed to this extent through the zoning process. Building new infrastructure on the land itself is only one piece of the puzzle – you’ve got to consider pros and cons regarding schools, public transit customers, invisible infrastructure capacity like sewers, electricity, etc., etc. This may be a great project at the end of the day – but rushing it through dooms it to failure at least in several courts of public opinion.

  • Don’t Worry, the Mechanics Won’t Be Cooking at Heritage’s New Cafe/Bike Shop (Eater)

    That’s a darn shame. Mechanics are among the best cooks I know.

  • Tooscrapps

    Agreed. Let me be clear, I think this development should provide all their affordable units on site and more for good measure. Phrasing it as $1.3M/unit is too simplistic and probably hurts the perception of affordable housing more than it helps it.

  • planetshwoop

    Ask Carlos about the affordable senior housing he helped to block (part of his initial election against Colon) on Montrose.

    Comrade Rosa likes headlines most of all, actual governing isn’t as fun as always being against something.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    I’m a pretty good cook myself but, speaking as someone who used to work at a bike shop, you wouldn’t want me to prepare your breakfast burrito between installing racks and fixing flats.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    In fairness, our bike-share system already has shifted to Lyft — they own Divvy’s parent company nowadays. But the city still owns all the bikes and docks, so there’s no danger of Divvy disappearing over night on the whim of a private company.

  • Dennis McClendon

    Lots of former industrial sites up and down the North Branch were turned into townhouse clusters by developers who put in their own streets and sewers.

  • Carter O’Brien

    “Sewers” in what sense? Pipes to connect to the main combined storm-sewer system, I imagine?

    I think that should be a baseline expectation. But we still need to consider the fact that while TARP is a masterful feat of engineering on par with the Roman aqueducts, that combined system means it’s equally important to think through how sewer and storm drain outflow capacity connect *to* the tunnels and reservoirs. As a fellow put it recently, TARP is like a huge bathtub, with any given part of the City having straws that bring water/sewage into it. So if you’re adding a lot of demand/counting on “sharing a straw” from the surface level, this could absolutely be problematic for the larger system. It would be interesting to know how much MWRD gets to weigh in on these development decisions…

  • Tooscrapps

    Can you provide some examples?

    Are they providing thru-streets and thoroughfares or private/semi-private access drives?

  • Dennis McClendon

    Mostly private streets so far, allowing them to be narrower and cheaper to build. But any project over 350 units, or within 100 feet of a waterway, has to be a Planned Development Ordinance, meaning the city could require public streets be dedicated.

  • rohmen

    I’ll stand corrected if someone can point to something that says I’m wrong, but If the city requires that a private street to be dedicated to the public, pretty sure the developer will have an argument that it’s a taking. Developers voluntarily dedicate private streets all the time, and then do not need to be compensated, but that’s different than what you’re seemingly arguing for here. Sure, you could do it through backroom handshakes and an “understanding” I guess, but it definitely opens the City up to legal challenges down the road if Sterling Bay agrees and then argues later the city compelled them to surrender private land.

  • Dennis McClendon

    PDs are a negotiation between the city and a developer who’s seeking a different, more profitable, zoning classification. The city can require anything it wants, including parkland dedication, conveyance of school sites, affordable housing donations, hiring preferences, etc. If the developer doesn’t want to do that, they’re welcome to keep the property as currently zoned.

    Most city and county subdivision regulations require publicly dedicated streets built to certain standards. Developers are typically glad to be rid of the ongoing maintenance burden. But most municipal street standards are stuck in 1950, requiring wide ROWs for buried roadside utilities and cartways wide enough for a monster fire truck to meet a semi with an Oldsmobile parked on both curbs.