Home of the 43rd Ward Democrats - Michele Smith Committeeman

featuring political news and community information for 43rd ward residents and businesses -
2527 N. Lincoln Avenue - 773-661-2133

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Traffic and Congestion at Halsted and North: A Long Way from Solved

About seventy residents attended a meeting called by Alderman Daley billed as a Traffic and Congestion report. Residents were anxious to hear about the City's plans in light of the construction of a large Whole Foods on Kingsbury and the rumored move of REI and Apple to the area south of NorthAve. Plus, as many of you know, two large high-rises are also under construction in the area.

What is the city planning to do? Not much, or so it appears. Members of the Department of Planning and consultant unveiled a "Halsted Triangle Plan."

This study, which apparently started in January 2007, was designed to address "development pressures" in this planned manufacturing district (meaning there are not supposed to be residences there). The planners stated they were trying to find a way to develop a look for the area, buffer the industrial areas, and help drivers find their way to parking. The plan showed a streetscape for Kingsbury, which would change the parking from diagonal to parallel, widen the sidewalks and put in trees. The planners also proposed a riverwalk for along the North Branch and a pedestrian bridge which would allow workers from Goose Island to reach the area.

So what's missing from this picture? The residents figured it out quickly -no plan for the traffic in and around the area. Residents peppered the speakers with questions about North Avenue traffic, and explained thatKingsbury is now used as a bit of a relief valve for North/Halsted traffic.

What's next? No new public meetings are scheduled. Send comments to me at michelesmith43rd@gmail.com and we'll compile them. Or contact the city directly to Eva-Marie Tropper, Project Manager - North District at Eva-marie.tropper@cityofchicago.org