Last week Streetsblog Chicago put out a map of potential streets for "Slow Streets" treatments, prohibiting through traffic to allow for safe walking, running, and biking in the roadway, as a conversation-starter. We floated the idea of doing this on all the ring roads in the major parks.
It turns out that the city is essentially already planning to do this on the ring road of Humboldt Park, Luis Muñoz Marín Drive, named for Puerto Rico's first elected governor. Streetsblog reader Matt Walsh spotted signs posted in the park alerting residents that parking will be banned on the drive at all times between the evening of Thursday, May 21, and the morning of Tuesday, May 26, extended Memorial Day Weekend. While the intention of the ban is to prevent people from driving to the park to congregate, a side benefit is that pedestrian activity will be allowed in the street.
Sgt. Adam Henkels from 14th District's Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy program told Streetsblog that the purpose of the parking ban is to discourage crowding and congregating at the park. "It was something we brainstormed at the District, because it's going to be in the 80s this weekend, so keeping the park from getting dangerously crowded is going to be a challenge." Crowded parks quickly become closed parks, so while the parking ban may be frustrating for some residents, it will help keep Memorial Day safer and more fun for everyone in the long run.
No parking on the ring road will mean a lot less driving there. As such, Henkels said it will be fine if people walk, push strollers, jog, roller-skate, scoot, or skateboard in the street. So the extra pedestrian space will make it easier for people to maintain six feet of space from each other.
Police News Affairs said they're unaware of any other parking bans in major Chicago parks this weekend.
In addition to editing Streetsblog Chicago, John writes the transportation column for the Chicago Reader weekly paper. A Chicagoan since 1989, he enjoys exploring the city on foot, bike, bus, and 'L' train.
On Thursday, disadvantaged business enterprises attended a meeting hosted by the Chicago Transit Authority to learn more about the Red Line Extension and the subcontracting opportunities available. The event took place at the CTA’s West Loop headquarters.