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Stay in the Know!

Scroll down to view the latest project announcements. Click the Register button today to receive these news updates right to your inbox! What will you receive by doing such? Important details about upcoming project events, poll results, and plan updates. Don't worry, we promise not to spam.

  • Hot Off The Press: Lincoln Square Master Plan, Adopted!

    about 1 month ago
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    It's official! The Lincoln Square Master Plan has been adopted by the SSA Commission and may be downloaded here. Please note the project website will be live until September 30th, 2019. After that time, please see lincolnsquare.org/SSA-Master-Plan for information relative to the Master Plan and current efforts.

    A big heartfelt thanks to our partners in planning: the SSA staff, Commissioners, Advisory Committee and of course the Community. Whether you participated in an event, interview, phone call, via the website, neighborhood poll or attended public meeting, we truly appreciate your enthusiasm and vision in...

    It's official! The Lincoln Square Master Plan has been adopted by the SSA Commission and may be downloaded here. Please note the project website will be live until September 30th, 2019. After that time, please see lincolnsquare.org/SSA-Master-Plan for information relative to the Master Plan and current efforts.

    A big heartfelt thanks to our partners in planning: the SSA staff, Commissioners, Advisory Committee and of course the Community. Whether you participated in an event, interview, phone call, via the website, neighborhood poll or attended public meeting, we truly appreciate your enthusiasm and vision in shaping the future of the special neighborhood that is Lincoln Square.

    To the future...and beyond!







  • Lincoln Square Open House + Input Summary

    3 months ago
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    Open House: May 30, 2019 | Old Town School of Folk Music, Szold Hall | 6pm


    These past twelve months have been a whirlwind of intense community outreach, project marketing, listening and learning. It goes without saying (but we’re gonna say it) -- we couldn’t have made this Master Plan without you!


    From our Kick-Off Idea Booth at Apple Fest in Fall of 2018 to our Final Community Open House and Draft Plan Reveal on May 30th, 2019 at the Old Town School of Folk Music – and everything in between -- you’ve made...



    Open House: May 30, 2019 | Old Town School of Folk Music, Szold Hall | 6pm


    These past twelve months have been a whirlwind of intense community outreach, project marketing, listening and learning. It goes without saying (but we’re gonna say it) -- we couldn’t have made this Master Plan without you!


    From our Kick-Off Idea Booth at Apple Fest in Fall of 2018 to our Final Community Open House and Draft Plan Reveal on May 30th, 2019 at the Old Town School of Folk Music – and everything in between -- you’ve made it clear what actions, priorities, and character considerations you expect to see in the coming years.

    The steady flow of feedback collected through June 14th has helped to affirm and refine final plan elements now under review. The project team, commissioners, and advisory committee greatly appreciate all the time, energy and thoughtful input you have shared with us. The overview that follows summarizes the input received at the open house and collected thereafter via email correspondence, conversations, and online comments posted to the project website at www.yourlincolnsquare.com.

    The evening began with a wholehearted ‘Lincoln Square’ welcome from Ryan Warsing, SSA 21 Program Manager. Jodi Mariano, Project Manager and Principal with Teska Associates then provided an overview of the project, process, master planning purpose, and detailed draft recommendations. Erin Cigliano, Principal Outreach Designer with Teska Associates presented community engagement highlights including the timeline, online tools, top ideas, themes, marketing avenues, and outreach metrics. Sara Disney Haufe with Sam Schwartz Engineering spoke to both transportation and safety strategies, and Linda Goodman with Goodman Williams Group detailed market findings and actions unique to the varying corridors.


    Let There Be… Feedback!

    Following the presentation, open house participants were encouraged to circulate through a variety of topic specific stations. Each person was provided with 12 stickers to identify those improvements they felt would provide the most value to the community. High-boy tables sprinkled with post-it notes and markers were situated around the event space to encourage additional feedback. Tallies of the open house summaries along with quotes and feedback from both the event and website are noted below:

    Highlights of input shared at open house and thereafter via the website and email:

    - “Lincoln SQU(AREA) = Impactful & Awesome. The artwork/mini plaza on North Lincoln helps visually connect North Lincoln to the Square, while being a great neighborhood gathering spot. Our neighbors along N. Lincoln would love this!”

    - “Select a different color for the (SQU)area to minimize graffiti.”

    - “Fill + paint planters - perhaps give each planter to a group in the area that doesn't have a physical store - but keep with a theme in mind for it so that it doesn't look all hodge podged together. Add lighting, murals, repaint canopy above/under tracks.”


    Highlights of input shared at open house and thereafter via the website and email:

    - “The L plaza should have seating & planters. Under the tracks could really be beautiful & have better ped/bike flow to avoid crosswalks.”

    - “Install upward jutting dynamic roof over CTA Platform that can be up lit and serve as a beacon, welcome sign and icon for the area, visible driving in both directions.”

    - “Main priority: Beautify + make safer under Western Brown Line Tracks; this is a BIG priority. It's dark, unsafe and does NOT at all reflect the beauty and care of our neighborhood. See under Paulina/Southport for great ideas: seating, planters, lighting, bright murals.”

    - “Access Western Brown Line from the west side of Western.” – 10x votes

    - “Add ‘Welcome to Lincoln Square’ banners or mini-arches along major streets at borders.”

    - “Omit seating under tracks, nobody will want to sit here, clean it up and add lighting.”

    - “Move Lincoln Statue to the CTA Station Area.”

    - “Western Ave plaza needs to be a destination to succeed. Long term development in the immediate area will aid in activating the space. More fests or farmers markets, etc.”

    - “Keep the signage near Western El up to date and take care of the trees there.”

    - “Add globe lights to Western Avenue.”

    - “Western Avenue: Develop as a boulevard with landscaped medians and safe crossings.”

    - “Plaza: Clean up tree grates, put up some murals on walls, perhaps some shipping container pop-up cafes, better lighting, sculptures, or community programming.”

    - “Dream BIG! With LS having numerous arts venues, promote additional art and theater in the area. Purchase/negotiate long term usage of CTA plaza at the western Station for multi-story Arts and Theater complex. The architecture should be bold and forward thinking. Spaces to be multi-use as the building should be a constantly scheduled, energized complex. Consider allowing the building to span across and over the Farmer’s Market parking lot creating a covered 2 story covered market/event space/parking lot. (CTA bus access would still be maintained or reworked).”

    - “Build Steel Garden trestle over Western Ave, the height of the CTA Tracks at north side, planted with trees and shrubs to “green up” Western Ave and buffer train noise.”

    - “A Mural on the side of Waldorf would be wonderful. It's very blank, doesn't need to be.”

    - “Make Lincoln between the Arches car-free on Sat or Sun from May – Oct. A single block, just 4 days a month, set aside for pedestrians as an escape from the constant traffic on Western and Lawrence aves. Giddings Plaza is charming but cramped, so expanding it, Euro-style, allowing people to stroll, or sit out at some cafe tables, and just enjoy the atmosphere at leisure doesn't seem like much to ask. Businesses have alley access and nearby public parking lots already, and they'd hardly suffer from an increase in foot traffic. IMHO this needs to be part of any "master plan" for such a residential area.”



    Highlights of input shared at open house and thereafter via the website and email:

    - “Rockwell Crossing Improvement: Rockwell between Leland and Eastwood has a lot of dilapidated store fronts that don't add much to the area. Would love to see more useful, neighborhood-friendly small businesses set up shop.”

    - “More areas designated for off leash dogs/dog park in the area parks(Maybe convert horseshoe lot at Welles since it needs significant repair).”

    - “Lincoln Square statue as a centerpiece. The namesake of our namesake should be more prominent and welcoming. This intersection should be an extension of the square entrance and blend together.”

    - “Don’t take away the community garden / Wasn’t a big donation just made to it?”


    Highlights of input shared at open house and thereafter via the website and email:

    - “Continued improvement along North Lincoln. The Boomers mini-mall has been vacant for some time; planters, trees and outdoor seating along rh sidewalk would go a long way.”

    - “Enhance gateway to North Lincoln Ave at McDonald’s plaza (2x).”

    - “Keep sufficient sidewalk width for pedestrians.”

    - “Is it too onerous on traffic to close Lincoln for festivals? I think so.”

    - “Relocating the stage at Giddings Plaza is a great idea but make sure you keep it as something that doubles as a play area for kids – they love it now.”

    - “More music performances / events are needed in Giddings Plaza.”

    - “Side street bulbs are not needed; it would add clutter.”

    - “Bump outs along N Lincoln to discourage through-traffic to Western.”

    - “Traffic on Lincoln will be at a standstill if people are parallel parking on both sides.”

    - “Concern about dedicating roadway space to sidewalks and negative impacts on traffic.”

    - “Minimize places for birds to roost – no light canopy over the plaza.”

    - “Please provide a bulletin board with a see thru heavy plastic curtain where we can thumbtack lost baby socks, mittens and small toys.”


    General comments pertaining to the following categories are listed below:

    STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS

    - Replace ugly blue steel chairs – need nicer street furniture

    - add bike racks with no logo in the middle – better for locking bikes up

    - Supportive of this concept (2x)

    - Don’t care about seating on main streets, don’t want to sit next to traffic and car exhaust

    - When locating seating, ask if anyone would like to sit there. Is the view smelly or loud?

    - Consider plants that can tolerate salts – many are killed after winter maintenance

    - We need to plant many more new trees, especially on the side streets

    - Restore / Add community gardens throughout the neighborhood

    - Maintain existing planters / de-weed / de-trash

    - Wide sidewalks along Lincoln south of Eastwood- add seating, sculptures, colorful paint, above-ground planters, Little Free Library, community bulletin board... something

    - Incorporate landscape buffers / row of shrubs rather than fencing where possible

    - Add decorative seating

    - More large murals -- Large mural at 4879 N Lincoln would be great!


    MAINTENANCE + CHARACTER

    - Enforce noise level/time ordinances: too much amplified music in Giddings Plaza, make acoustic only

    - Encourage local businesses to promote local character beyond the Square

    - When considering adding anything with a surface, imagine it with graffiti, as it eventually will be.

    - All the physical improvements weaken if we don’t improve policing

    - Emphasize recycled and repurposed materials, sustainability, etc.

    - Minimize surfaces that provide space for graffiti

    - Replace the worn-out Horseshoe Court with Dog Park or Basketball Court

    - Neighborhood beautification efforts in the neighborhoods surrounding the SSA Boundaries


    PED + BIKE SAFETY

    - LSQ should have a vehicular circulator, like a trolley, that connects folks between commercial areas, transit stations and neighborhoods.

    - Add dedicated bike lane: Lincoln Ave is becoming more utilized by bikes but from the curve west of Leland Street heading north, the way to continue biking north seems to dead end. Since W Leland between Lincoln and Western is extra wide, add a green painted bike lane running out to western and up western until it intersects with Lawrence Ave. Alternative: Sign bikes to travel east on Leland using the alley to access the bike lanes on Lawrence. Provide markings across Lawrence and signage to demark bike Xing

    - Add bike racks on east side of Lincoln (currently none between Giddings Plaza and Lawrence)

    - Possibly combine CTA bus stops at Lawrence / Western (Lincoln Statue)


    DESIGN GUIDELINES / DEVELOPMENT

    General

    - Create setback program that is in scale with street widths.

    - Does the affordable housing include the 30% set aside? There should be inter-generational affordable housing so all can enjoy Lincoln Square. Affordable housing for artists / musicians, etc.

    - I am all for anything that encourages the community to gather – cafes, seating, planters, direction/event signs and festivals – these are quality of life.

    - How to encourage best architectural qualities? Aldermen influence? (quality windows/materials) Setbacks sound good.

    - Lincoln Square lacks high speed fiber internet, and this inhibits development and employment

    - Have we engaged in race-equity considerations in all these ideas?

    - Buy vacant buildings and make into shared community green space.

    - I hope that new development will still have a variety of appearances – buildings and areas with character, not just more square, smooth, brick rectangles… neighborhood has diverse, approachable, old/new feel that I love.

    - With the closure of Pickles Playroom our neighborhood is now lacking an indoor plays space for kids. This is such a valuable resource for families, especially in the winter months. Perhaps a business could be recruited for the Women's Workout World space on Lawrence?


    Western / Montrose

    - Density is needed, especially near transit (2x)

    - There is too much density – do not increase it

    - Promote walkability

    - Maintain affordability

    - Do not promote unregulated deconversions


    Lawrence Ave / Rockwell Crossing

    - Redevelop parking lots along W Lawrence

    - Get Burger King on Lawrence to give up its massive parking lot

    - Proactively plan for MB / 5th/3rd Bank Property (No Whole Foods)

    - Repave Rockwell Crossing with pavers/bricks including intersections at N + S ends to create special zone. Add large scale, historic multi-part planters to historic streetlights. Cut bottom branches of trees to open up first floor of buildings visually. Provide financial incentives to improve store fronts; not a huge expenditure and would hugely improve this special part of our neighborhood

    - The strip shopping parking lots should have city mandated black fences and landscaping.

    - Bulldoze Walgreen’s Building. Allow increase in height and FAR for new building to pay for improvements to Lincoln Statue Park and other proposed park improvements north and across Western. Billboard must be removed

    - Buses tie up corner and block traffic and bikers along Lawrence on east side of Western. Move bus stop to west side of street so that traffic can flow more easily at Western. Future development could be required to be set back at first floor level to allow for additional width at sidewalk and covered protection for bus stop in lieu of standard stop canopies

    - Consider zoning changes/incentives/selling government owned property at Lawrence Ave west of Western as numerous buildings break the urban fabric of the area, creating a large stretch of vast nothingness. For example, build a multi-story building on the site of the Illinois’ Dept. of Employment Security and allow the state to occupy tenant space rent free at either this location or when the MB Bank site is redeveloped. Consider allowing Burger King parking lot at west side of building to be sold and developed as its own parcel. It’s not utilized, and all the gaps and parking lots cut off this stretch of Lawrence from that east and west of it. This would be a LONG term implementation but great futures come via planning now.


    Lincoln Ave

    - Turn the public parking lot on the NE corner of Western and Leland into a parking structure to add additional parking and facilitate the closing of Lawrence to pedestrian only on weekends.

    - Keep fast food restaurants out of Lincoln Square shopping area between Sunnyside and Lawrence

    - Setbacks should be sensible to developers, consider zoning requirements, and adjacent neighbors

    - Yes to glass doors and outdoor seating

    - Extend Lincoln Ave across Lawrence: Add new stop light for traffic heading westbound on Lawrence to the east FACE of Lincoln Avenue. Extend sidewalk pavers across street and into park to tie the Lincoln Square Main Street to Lincoln Statue Park so that these areas feel integrated. Remove Lincoln Square arch which cuts the street off from the rest of the area. Install LED light pylons (just one idea) on both sides of the street, diagonally parallel to Lincoln to reinforce the concept. Continue these ideas at the triangular park at the SW corner of Western and Gunnison, continuing the conceptual re-linking of Lincoln Ave. That mini park could become a useful space if redesigned. Continue LED light pylons across street in front of McDonalds

    - Currently no color at gateway to the Square; add planters, paint, colorful benches, art, etc.

    - Lobby city and alderman to remove McDonald’s tall signage. This should have been done as a condition for the new drive thru! I applaud the other who recommended this!

    - Completely Re-envision the underutilized park in front of McDonalds with the creation of a large scale open air trellised structure, creating an urban room designed for art shows, musical performance, dance recitals, markets, religious services, holiday parties, food truck events and more. The eastern edge would be buffeted with a wide one-story masonry wall to buffer sound from Western and provide a base to the structure. A steel and wood frame would rise up and span across the park to the Lincoln Ave western edge. Various options for banners, lighting and covering would be designed to allow for unlimited temporary additions to the structure. The wall could be designed at the east face to be either a monument or historical marker for the area- an outdoor museum. Relocate Statue of Lincoln to Apex of Triangle facing southeast gazing south down Lincoln Ave. This short leg of Lincoln Ave could be moved west to its original location, making the park wider and minimizing the wasted space and parking in front of McDonalds.

    - At the site of the T-Mobile, combine it and adjacent properties for 5-6 story high quality building- boutique Hotel, Senior Housing, Artist Live/Work Space, Non Profit Office Building, College…. Curving both corners like the Lincoln street curve could create our area’s own iconic “Flat Iron” building like in NY or Northwest Tower (the Robey Hotel now) in Wicker Park. The building could form the backdrop to a new cool Urban Park in front of McDonalds

    - North Lincoln Ave: This area seems to be the forgotten section due to the discontinuity of Lincoln Ave. Work with landlords of vacant storefronts to allow artists to work, perhaps subsidized by grants from the city, arts organizations or the alderman’s office. Close the street for a street fair annually.


    ONLINE ENGAGEMENT

    Overview of Feedback + Traffic Received via the Project Website

    Between the May 30th Open House and June 14th Comment Period, the following inputs were received via the project website, www.YourLincolnSquare.org:


    54 Additional Mapped Comments

    Comments have been integrated and summarized via the summary above. The majority of feedback pertained to Community Character (25%), Bike and Pedestrian Amenities (15%) and Public Art (13%).

    169 New Idea Contributions

    Additional feedback was received via both the general idea tool, as well as the dedicated Draft Master Plan Review Page. Ideas and inputs have been summarized in the report above.


    NEXT STEPS

    The Final Lincoln Square Master Plan is currently under review by the Commission. The approved and adopted plan will be shared with all in the coming weeks! Stay tuned! And thanks again to the awesome "folks" at the Old Town School of Folk Music for hosting our Open House.






















  • Review Draft Master Plan | Share Input Through June 14th

    3 months ago
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    Dear Lincoln Square,

    Quite simply, you guys rule.

    We were so pleased that over 130+ community members came out to the May 30th Open House to learn about, view and comment on the Draft Lincoln Square Master Plan. Thank you for your constructive feedback, thoughtful comments and casual conversation.


    Next Steps: Review Draft Plan + Share Comments by June 14th.

    We are currently reviewing the input provided and will report back with findings when the June 14th comment period has closed. All feedback provided via the website will be folded into those findings, so please continue to share....

    Dear Lincoln Square,

    Quite simply, you guys rule.

    We were so pleased that over 130+ community members came out to the May 30th Open House to learn about, view and comment on the Draft Lincoln Square Master Plan. Thank you for your constructive feedback, thoughtful comments and casual conversation.


    Next Steps: Review Draft Plan + Share Comments by June 14th.

    We are currently reviewing the input provided and will report back with findings when the June 14th comment period has closed. All feedback provided via the website will be folded into those findings, so please continue to share. Master Plan materials and the presentation from the May 30th Open House are linked below for easy reference and referral. Submit your comments via the dedicated Master Plan feedback page (button below). Once all input is gathered and reviewed, the Master Plan will be finalized, and the SSA Commission will formally approve the final plan.


    Draft Lincoln Square Master Plan Open House Materials


    In the News:

    Block Club Chicago Article by Patty Wetli | June 4th, 2019

    Lincoln Square’s Western Avenue Brown Line Plaza Would Get Colorful Overhaul Under Proposed ‘Master Plan’

    The transformation of Lincoln Square's most visible public spaces is among the biggest-ticket proposals proposed in the just-released Master Plan.




  • You're Invited! LSQ Master Plan Unveiling

    4 months ago
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    4 committee meetings, 3 surveys, 25 stakeholder sit-downs, and LOTS of comments later, the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Improvement Program, SSA #21, is ready to reveal its conceptual neighborhood Master Plan!


    Lincoln Square Master Plan Open House

    • Thursday, May 30th
    • 6:00-7:30pm (presentation at 6pm)
    • Old Town School of Music, Szold Hall
    • 4545 N. Lincoln
    • Click here to RSVP


    The Plan fields everything from infrastructure and public space to private development guidelines and tools to promote local commerce. We worked with CDOT, CTA, our Wards, and others to ensure a workable vision that doesn't just...


    4 committee meetings, 3 surveys, 25 stakeholder sit-downs, and LOTS of comments later, the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Improvement Program, SSA #21, is ready to reveal its conceptual neighborhood Master Plan!


    Lincoln Square Master Plan Open House

    • Thursday, May 30th
    • 6:00-7:30pm (presentation at 6pm)
    • Old Town School of Music, Szold Hall
    • 4545 N. Lincoln
    • Click here to RSVP


    The Plan fields everything from infrastructure and public space to private development guidelines and tools to promote local commerce. We worked with CDOT, CTA, our Wards, and others to ensure a workable vision that doesn't just sit on a shelf - join our whole team in the Old Town School of Folk Music's Szold Hall on May 30th, when we'll present the Plan overview starting at 6pm, with an open house right after. In the meantime, we're still taking public comments right here on the project website! Join the conversation, then join us for the Big Day!

    Thanks to our partners at Teska Associates, Inc. and all the organizations represented on our Master Plan Steering Committee:

    Greater Rockwell Organization
    Gross Park Advisory Council
    Heart of Lincoln Square Neighbors Association





  • Draft Placemaking Concepts + Guidelines Underway

    6 months ago
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    Hey, Lincoln Square! It’s been about a month since we shared the results of Neighborhood Poll #3, so we wanted to update our followers as to where we are in our process. The 'Your Lincoln Square Design Team' is currently reviewing hundreds of ideas and working with the SSA, steering committee, and stakeholders to review and finalize preliminary concepts. The concepts will address both near and long-term public streetscape and placemaking improvements, as well as design guidelines for private developments. We are targeting a public open house meeting to review concepts in May. More details and...

    Hey, Lincoln Square! It’s been about a month since we shared the results of Neighborhood Poll #3, so we wanted to update our followers as to where we are in our process. The 'Your Lincoln Square Design Team' is currently reviewing hundreds of ideas and working with the SSA, steering committee, and stakeholders to review and finalize preliminary concepts. The concepts will address both near and long-term public streetscape and placemaking improvements, as well as design guidelines for private developments. We are targeting a public open house meeting to review concepts in May. More details and invites to come – stay tuned!









  • Neighborhood Poll #3 Results

    7 months ago
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    Introduction

    You did it! Thank you for helping us understand your preferences as they relate to mixed use and residential building design treatments in Lincoln Square! During earlier polls and events, we heard comments about new building developments and how they contribute to the look and feel of Lincoln Square. To take those comments one step further, we developed Poll #3 which delved deeper into these topics via a visual preference survey.

    Overview + Participation

    Neighborhood Poll #3 was open for 3-weeks, going live on Friday, January 4th and closing the afternoon of Friday, January 25th, 2019. During that time,...

    Introduction

    You did it! Thank you for helping us understand your preferences as they relate to mixed use and residential building design treatments in Lincoln Square! During earlier polls and events, we heard comments about new building developments and how they contribute to the look and feel of Lincoln Square. To take those comments one step further, we developed Poll #3 which delved deeper into these topics via a visual preference survey.

    Overview + Participation

    Neighborhood Poll #3 was open for 3-weeks, going live on Friday, January 4th and closing the afternoon of Friday, January 25th, 2019. During that time, nearly 500 participants (487 to be exact) took the poll, rating their ideals regarding building design and ground floor activity and sharing insights about why they like, love or loathe varying development types, styles and building materials. Participants were asked to provide their “gut reactions” by rating each image on a scale of 1 (love) to 5 (dislike) and to provide additional insights via the open comment section, if desired.

    It's all in the details…

    Over 1,800 open ended comments were received; 1,835 to be exact! One of the great things about open-ended comments are people aren’t limited to the predetermined set of possible answer choices. As such, we ended up collecting a rich pool of genuine opinions and context from folks regarding building design, orientation and materials, ground floor activity, landscaping, shared spaced, and so much more. Thank you to everyone who took the time to provide this detail. It has helped us immensely in understanding the “bigger picture” and your development values for Lincoln Square.



    Methodology

    A summary of the findings from neighborhood poll #3 is provided below. Given the depth of responses and comments received, it is essential to approach these findings with a discerning eye. With so much input and varying opinions garnered, we must determine a way to successfully extract the value added and preferences of the neighborhood at large.

    Some image ratings are very stark, straightforward, and easy to understand –predominately loved, liked or overwhelmingly disliked. Other images received a mix of responses across all ratings or predominately fell in the neutral category. As we look to these findings – your collective input, ratings and comments - we have reviewed the nuances and connections of all input received to inform the Lincoln Square Design Guidelines.


    4-Step Process

    To help understand those aspects of building design and ground floor activity that were well liked and loved versus not desired, the overall feedback received for each image were reviewed in the following 4-step process:

    1. Review: To start, we began with an overall review of the individual bar charts to determine the highs and lows of ratings for each image.
    2. Group: Next, we grouped the images into one of three categories based on their overall ranking: (1) highly rated, (2) lowly rated, (3) mixed reviews.
    3. Read: We then conducted a thorough read of all the comments received to help discern and summarize why images were rated as favorable, unfavorable, or “meh”.
    4. Identify: Finally, we merged the holistic findings of the ratings and comments across the three categories to distinguish what factors specifically did participants like, love, loathe – or were generally, just not that impressed with.



    Poll Results

    PART A: Building Design

    Building Design: Highest Rated Images

    Distinguishing Factors + Comment Commonalities

    Generally, most participants noted that they like the following features:
    • Brick / vintage / older façade
    • Chicago-style / traditional architecture
    • Restoration / retrofits of older buildings
    • Buildings that “blend” into neighborhood
    • Dank House (Q16) is cherished, but not in scale with surroundings and needs updating
    • Architectural interest / delineation
    • Incorporate public art / murals
    • Neighborhood scale (2-3 stories)
    • Taller buildings should be located on Western
    • Integrate greenery to soften facade


    Building Design: Lowest Rated Images

    Distinguishing Factors + Comment Commonalities

    Generally, most participants noted that they dislike the following features:
    • Strip malls are not appropriate for neighborhood
    • Parking lots in front are a waste of space
    • Generic / repetitive architecture
    • Boring buildings / no character
    • Street level does not have enough glass
    • Cinderblock materials are unattractive
    • Lacking street activation
    • Balconies without sunlight


    Building Design: Images with Mixed Ratings - Set 1

    Distinguishing Factors + Comment Commonalities

    Many of the comments received highlight that while the building style, scale and materials may be attractive, they do not interface / blend well with Lincoln Square – its neighborhood character, history, and established aesthetic.

    OVERALL CONS
    • Too modern / too much glass
    • Does not fit character of Lincoln Square
    • Looks like an office or hotel
    • Too dense

    OVERALL PROS
    • Interesting roof delineation
    • Color contrast to add interest
    • Ground floor retail
    • Integration of balconies

    Building Design: Images with Mixed Ratings - Set 2


    Distinguishing Factors + Comment Commonalities

    Q6 BUILDING COMMENTS
    • Like the warm / yellow brick
    • Dated, needs updating
    • Classic / traditional architecture
    • Proper neighborhood scale
    • Needs a wider sidewalk
    • Alley is perfect spot for a mural
    Q13 BUILDING COMMENTS
    • Too “bulky” / “hulking”
    • Out of scale with neighboring buildings
    • Balconies are too far setback
    • Too heavy on bottom
    • Limestone columns make for cavernous feel



    PART B: Ground Floor Activity

    Ground Floor Activity: Highest Rated Images

    Distinguishing Factors + Comment Commonalities

    Generally, most participants noted that they like the following features:
    • Patio space / sidewalk dining
    • Historic street lighting
    • Ground floor awnings
    • Variety of landscaping / planters
    • Mature trees that provide shade
    • Large glass windows on ground floor
    • Pedestrian scaled
    • Quaint and inviting
    • Wide sidewalks
    • A feeling of privacy in the public realm
    • Interesting storefronts on ground floor

    Caution: Ensure patio space does not encroach on sidewalk creating too narrow of a walkway

    Ground Floor Activity: Lowest Rated Images

    Distinguishing Factors + Comment Commonalities

    Generally, most participants noted that they dislike the following features:

    • No strip malls in urban centers
    • No parking lots in front of buildings
    • Sidewalks are too narrow
    • Too close to traffic / busy street
    • Billboards are unattractive
    • Signage and awnings are not consistent
    • Poor maintenance / upkeep
    • Looks rundown / dirty
    • No entryway presence / sense of arrival
    • Large buildings with narrow sidewalks


    Ground Floor Activity: Images with Mixed Ratings

    Distinguishing Factors + Comment Commonalities

    OVERALL CONS
    • Modern / contemporary buildings and entrances do not fit neighborhood character and history
    • Overabundance of glass make buildings appear too modern; like an office building or hotel
    • Too much distance between building and street
    • Generic / suburban feel
    • Over-scaled / prominent sign (Q26)
    • Corporate aesthetic feels unwelcoming

    OVERALL PROS

    • Potted plants
    • Diversity of landscaping
    • Integration of stone / brick walkways
    • Color accents
    • Roof details / overhangs
    • Patios are welcoming



    Concluding Statements


    When considering what type of building design / ground level detail is appropriate in Lincoln Square, it is essential to take into consideration the following four factors:

    (1) Neighborhood Setting: What is the built and natural environment like?
    (2) Physical Location: What street is it on? Is it near the train?
    (3) Built Surroundings: What are the aesthetics / scale / setbacks of neighboring structures?
    (4) Character: Consider the existing character and longstanding history of Lincoln Square.

    Top 10 Poll Findings

    1. Lincoln Square is a historic, Chicago neighborhood and these roots must be reinforced and preserved in the face of new development.

    2. Modern buildings with extensive glass were generally poorly rated. Participants noted these buildings can be attractive but are not the right fit or aesthetic for Lincoln Square.

    3. Masonry buildings that blend in scale with their surrounding structures are preferred and connect back to the neighborhood character of Lincoln Square.

    4. Adaptive retrofits, renovations, and historic preservation of architecturally significant buildings was generally encouraged and praised throughout poll comments.

    5. Signage and awnings need to be cohesive, interesting and attractive.

    6. The streetscape should integrate nature including a balance of greenery, planters, and/or mature trees that provide shade.

    7. Sidewalk patios and pedestrian plazas are much loved and highly desired. They connect back to Lincoln Square’s historic roots and are reminiscent of European towns. However, sidewalk patios should not hinder pedestrian mobility.

    8. Height to setback ratio must be considered with regards to new development. Generally speaking, the taller the building the more setback required to make the ground floor environment hospitable, not overbearing, to the pedestrian.

    9. The interplay of ground level details is important i.e. awnings, street lighting, façade lighting, welcoming entryway details, patio space, greenery, planters, windows, architectural details, retail uses, width of sidewalk, etc.

    10. Public art and murals that enhance neighborhood character and history should be considered at key locations and blank facades in Lincoln Square.



    Next Steps: How will this information be used?

    A component of the Lincoln Square Master Plan is a set of design guidelines that will be used to communicate the community's vision for new building developments. The findings of the poll will be used to develop such! When it comes to design, there will naturally be differences in opinions and preferences. However, we were overwhelmed by the commonalities in feedback expressed; especially in regards to the concluding statements and the findings noted above. Thank you again for your extensive input and thoughtful responses.More to come... stay tuned!


  • New Year, New Poll! Share your design preferences with us by taking Poll #3 today...

    9 months ago
    Poll button 3

    Hey Lincoln Square! Poll #3 is here...

    Happy 2019! Hope everyone had a great holiday. As we usher in a new year, we thought it only fitting to roll-out a new neighborhood poll. You all have been so generous with insights to date, so without further ado:



    Welcome to our third neighborhood poll!

    During earlier polls and events, we heard comments about new building developments and how they contribute to the look and feel of Lincoln Square. This poll delves into these topics further through a visual preference survey. How will this...

    Hey Lincoln Square! Poll #3 is here...

    Happy 2019! Hope everyone had a great holiday. As we usher in a new year, we thought it only fitting to roll-out a new neighborhood poll. You all have been so generous with insights to date, so without further ado:



    Welcome to our third neighborhood poll!

    During earlier polls and events, we heard comments about new building developments and how they contribute to the look and feel of Lincoln Square. This poll delves into these topics further through a visual preference survey. How will this information be used in the master plan? A component of the Lincoln Square Master Plan is a set of design guidelines that will be used to communicate the community's vision for new building developments. So take a few moments to channel your inner designer and share your thoughts!

    Instructions

    Help us understand your preferences as they relate to mixed use and residential building design treatments in Lincoln Square. The survey includes a series of images organized across 2 design categories:

    1. Building design
    2. Ground floor activity

    Rating

    You will be asked to rate each image on a scale of 1 (love) to 5 (dislike). Some images will be repeated to understand nuances between your design preferences. Please be sure to focus on and rank the image based on its appropriateness in Lincoln Square, not what you like in general.

    Timing

    We are looking for "gut reactions" so ranking each image should only take a few seconds. In total, the survey should take between 5-10 minutes to complete.


    Let the voting begin!




  • View Poll #2 Summary

    9 months ago
    1

    Results are in! Check out the findings of the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Poll #2...


    Facts + Figures

    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...

    Results are in! Check out the findings of the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Poll #2...


    Facts + Figures

    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.




    Who came out to the polls?

    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.




    What type of placemaking would you like to see most?


    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:

    • Beautify area around the Brown Line Western Stop / transformation under the tracks
    • Relieve traffic congestion (add a northbound right turn lane on Western at Lawrence, BRT on Western, more bike lanes and bike parking, and traffic calming measures)
    • Create community event areas and gathering spaces (outdoor amphitheater, more greenspace, wildlife sanctuary, reinvent NE corner of Lawrence and Western, make the 4700 Block of Lincoln Avenue pedestrian only)
    • Perspectives on parking were varied (zone parking for residents, do not remove parking, more outdoor seating but do not remove parking)
    • Activate underutilized / vacant space and enhance pedestrian accommodations north of Lawrence, infuse with restaurants and expand neighborhood “feeling”


    Other responses supported the existing poll categories:

    • Add a dog park (possible location could be the underused horseshoe pit in Welles park)
    • General Maintenance: Add trash bins, fill potholes, fix sidewalks, take care of parkway trees and lighting, apply green infrastructure practices
    • Add public art that calls out neighborhood history in key locations



    Which site-specific improvements would you like to see most?


    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:

    • Reinvigorating Lincoln Avenue north of Lawrence, improve aesthetics, lighting, sidewalks
    • Enhance Rockwell Corridor
    • Continued support for the removal of traffic/cars in the ‘Square’; close the arch to cars
    • Local trolley to support shops and restaurants
    • Wayfinding measures to direct people to and from the main square
    • Reinvent public space and triangular landscape area around McDonalds
    • Transform Western Ave: BRT, art, more trees, landscaping (like at Irving Park), TODs




    A bit about “Shared Streets” ...

    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.




    What types of public art would you like to see in Lincoln Square?

    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:

    • Public art under the tracks by the Western Station
    • Sculptures
    • More greenery
    • Community art with children and homeowners
    • Street paint because it’s not only visual but can further pedestrian safety, which is essential for our neighborhood businesses



    When it comes to development, what would you like to see most?


    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,

    • Support / retain local businesses (shop small); ensure rising rents don’t push them out
    • Local stores are great, but a few chains would be welcome; Chipotle, Panera, Lululemon
    • Focus on and fill vacancies and empty storefronts
    • Varied comments on parking included (1) less parking and parking lots, more parkland, (2) nearby paid parking to support local businesses, and (3) residential permit parking
    • Indoor play area / Welles Park Building for year-round use by the community
    • Community gathering space with programs and local brews on tap (Brauhaus location)




    What good is a poll if no one takes it?

    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.






    Stay tuned! Poll #3 is coming soon. Everyone have a happy and safe holiday... and happy new year!




  • Poll #2 Closing Friday 11/16

    10 months ago
    Poll button 2

    Hey Lincoln Square!

    If you haven't already shared input via the Neighborhood Poll #2, please do so soon. The poll will be closing this Friday, November 16th at 4pm. Thanks to everyone who has contributed input thus far!


    Danke,

    Team Lincoln Square

    Hey Lincoln Square!

    If you haven't already shared input via the Neighborhood Poll #2, please do so soon. The poll will be closing this Friday, November 16th at 4pm. Thanks to everyone who has contributed input thus far!


    Danke,

    Team Lincoln Square

  • View Poll #1 Summary + Take Poll #2

    11 months ago
    4

    Results are in!

    BIG thanks to the whopping 563 participants who shared input as part of the first ‘Your Lincoln Square’ Neighborhood Poll. We received responses from a wide range of ages (18 years to 66+ years) and neighborhood affiliations. From residents (81%) and property owners (39%), to employees (11%) and visitors (17%). The 10% of poll takers who marked “other” in regards to their connection to Lincoln Square, expanded on why they visit the neighborhood, noting (1) living nearby – Ravenswood, Ravenswood Manor, Bowmanville, Budlong Woods, Albany Park, and North Center; (2) children attend school in the neighborhood; (3)...

    Results are in!

    BIG thanks to the whopping 563 participants who shared input as part of the first ‘Your Lincoln Square’ Neighborhood Poll. We received responses from a wide range of ages (18 years to 66+ years) and neighborhood affiliations. From residents (81%) and property owners (39%), to employees (11%) and visitors (17%). The 10% of poll takers who marked “other” in regards to their connection to Lincoln Square, expanded on why they visit the neighborhood, noting (1) living nearby – Ravenswood, Ravenswood Manor, Bowmanville, Budlong Woods, Albany Park, and North Center; (2) children attend school in the neighborhood; (3) they shop and dine regularly in the Square; (4) volunteer at local events; and (5) simply put, “Love Lincoln Square.” Many participants relayed that they choose to spend their “social time” in Lincoln Square, while others highlighted that they were former residents and return frequently because, as noted above, they love the neighborhood.


    Poll #1 Participant Profile | Age + Neighborhood Connection



    What do you like most about Lincoln Square?

    When asked what folks like most about Lincoln Square, the top two responses were the ‘Walkable Environment’ (79%) and ‘Quality of local shops, restaurants, businesses’ (71%), followed by ‘Access to Metra/CTA’ (37%), ‘Sense of Community’ (34%), ‘Community Festivals and Events’ (25%), ‘Safe Place to Raise a Family’ (23%), ‘Arts and Culture’ (10%), ‘Quality of Schools’ (7%) and ‘Other’ (2%). Those who selected “Other” highlighted locally-owned businesses, parks and trees, sense of safety in general, community organizations, diversity, and German influence.




    What about Lincoln Square needs the most improvement?

    When asked what about Lincoln Square needs the most improvement, the top three responses were ‘Traffic Congestion’ (55%); ‘Pedestrian and Bike Amenities’ (39%); and ‘Public Art and Celebration of Local Culture and History’ (38%), followed by ‘Community Gathering Places’ (32%); ‘Existing Parks and Open Spaces’ (26%); and ‘Community Events’ (14%). One out of every three respondents or 33% voted “Other” and shared a written response, the majority of which focused on:


    · Housing affordability

    · Stability, support and attraction of quality local retailers and restaurants

    · Address vacancies / empty storefronts

    · Western CTA station area

    · Appearance of Western Avenue

    · Improve North Lincoln Square / area north of Lawrence

    · Placemaking at Lincoln and Lawrence where Lincoln Statue is

    · Enhance streetscape and beautification

    · Desire for a dog park

    · Improve safety




    Next Step: Take Quick Poll #2

    Thank you again for sharing insights via the first neighborhood poll, website and at Apple Fest. All feedback – written, posted, mapped and vocalized – is being thoroughly recorded and reviewed. What’s cooler? We are excited see outreach themes emerging! These themes are derived from those ideas and desires that are being reiterated and supported by others. To help hone these themes and better understand project priorities, we have created a second neighborhood poll which focuses on placemaking considerations, public art, and site-specific improvements.


    Please share your input today by clicking here or the button below:


    DANKE!

    Your Lincoln Square
    #YourLincolnSquare