Neighborhood Poll #2 was open for three weeks, going live on Monday, October 22nd, 2018 and closing the afternoon of Friday, November 16th, 2018. During that time, 695 participants (heck ya!!!) took the poll, voting on and sharing desired placemaking preferences, development ideals and suggested improvements for Lincoln Square’s Special Service Area (SSA) #21. Some comments pertained to locations outside of the project geography; please click here to view a map with the SSA boundaries highlighted. Not sure what an SSA is? Click here.
In addition to the sheer volume of participants, it is important to note that the poll
received over 250 comments wherein participants added more detail about their
response or a different answer altogether. For example, the first question that
asked, “What type of placemaking would you like to see most?” received
forty-six additional “other” responses. Comments ranged from traffic calming
and addressing vacancies, to zoned parking for residents, a Lincoln Square
hop-on hop-off trolley, making the 4700 Block of Lincoln Avenue pedestrian-only,
and additional support for a dog park. Comment themes and details are addressed
for each question in the summaries that follow.
The poll received responses from a wide range of ages (18 years to 66+ years) and neighborhood affiliations. From residents (80%) and property owners (38%), to visitors (37%) and employees (13%). The 9% of poll takers who marked “other” in regards to their connection to Lincoln Square, expanded on why they visit the neighborhood, noting (1) they live nearby; (2) children attend school in the neighborhood; (3) friends, spouses or family work or live nearby; (4) they volunteer at local events; (5) attend Old Town School of Music, (6) grew up in or use to live in Lincoln Square and return often, and (7) shop and dine regularly in the Square because they love it and want to support the businesses.
With 501 votes “Landscaping, trees and community gardens” was the top ranked placemaking “want” noted by participants. “Enhanced pedestrian and bike access” (401 votes), “Public art throughout the neighborhood” (348 votes), and “General maintenance” (268 votes), i.e more trash bins and recycling stations were also highly ranked. With 146 votes each, a “Designated dog park” and “Parking spaces transformed into parklets and outdoor patios” tied as the 4th placemaking priority. Comments reiterated in the “other” category included:
Other responses supported the existing poll categories:
Poll participants felt equally passionate
about wanting to “Mitigate the barrier-feel of Western Avenue” (485 votes) and
“Enhance Western CTA Station plaza / ped underpass” (455 votes). “Enhancements
to the plaza surrounding Lincoln’s statue” (341 votes) and creating a “Shared
Street on Lincoln Avenue” (313 votes) were also highly ranked. A photograph of
the existing shared streetscape on Argyle Street in Chicago’s Uptown
neighborhood was included in the poll to visually communicate how pedestrian
flow can be enhanced alongside parking and traffic calming measures like bump
outs, landscaping and rain gardens.
Comments reiterated in the “other” category included:
A few poll participants wanted more information about shared streets... ask and you shall receive! A “Shared Street” is designed to prioritize walkability, calm traffic, provide more space for pedestrians and sidewalk cafes, support events and ultimately create a safer, more pleasant, more profitable business strip. As the name indicates, shared streets are designed to be shared by all users; pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists must coexist. Many Shared Streets also celebrate green infrastructure, accessibility, economic development, and encourage a sense of community. The Argyle Shared Street example shown below (Chicago’s first shared street!) demonstrates these factors; the street was raised, and curbs eliminated to create an open, plaza-like feel. During community events, Argyle Street is closed to traffic temporarily and the sidewalks and street function as a shared people place.
As identified in the photos below, innovative “Street Canopies” was clearly the top ranked art example, receiving a total of 348 votes. “Murals” ranked second with 230 votes, followed by “Usable” public art with 213 votes, and “Interactive” public art with 203 votes.
Comments reiterated in the “other” category included:
Lincoln Square wants to see areas beyond Giddings Plaza rejuvenated and commercial development increased. Ranked as the top priority for development with 425 votes, the desire to improve the vitality of areas north of Lawrence Avenue and throughout the neighborhood in general were reiterated in comments. Specific locations include (1) Lawrence Avenue west of Western, (2) Western Avenue south of the CTA Station, (3) Western and Lincoln Avenue north of Lawrence, and (4) the Rockwell / Eastwood area.
In addition to ranking second among the development priorities with 296 votes, the desire for affordability (with the exception of 2 comments against such) was reiterated and supported many (many) times over in the comment section. There is a clear desire by poll participants to stop the conversion of existing 2-flats into single-family homes and luxury condos, and ensure affordable housing, rentals, and rents for businesses moving forward. Other ideas and comments on this thread included affordable housing and work spaces for artists and musicians, housing options in the $400k-700k range that can support a middle-class family, density near transit, senior housing and activity centers, and allowing accessory dwelling units like a small home office space in lieu of single-story garages off alleys.
Comments reiterated in the “other” category include,
Our thoughts exactly! In terms of marketing
and understanding the avenues by which folks heard about the poll, 87% learned
of it via an email notification and/or social media; another 4% came across it
via the SSA website. Behold, the power of technology. The 11% or 76
participants who responded “Other”, relayed they had heard about the poll
thanks to (1) Block Club Chicago, (2) Streetsblog (3) word of mouth and shares
from fellow neighbors, residents, friends, wives and hubbies, (4) Alderman and
Chamber emails, (5) Apple Fest, print marketing and banners, and the (6)
Greater Rockwell Organization. Thank you to everyone who helped spread the word
and generate awareness about the poll!!! Please keep sharing via the tools herein.