Don’t pull a Finn Madej. It backfires. Big time.

Don’t pull a Finn Madej. It backfires. Big time.

Before IHOP there was a ballroom; now high rises are planned

Great 1917 postcard of The Marigold, a ballroom at what was once known as the Bismarck Gardens, Broadway and Grace. This is where the IHOP now stands at Halsted, Broadway and Grace in Boystown.

The Bismarck Gardens was opened in 1895 by Emil and Karl Eitel for the North Side’s German community. Beer was constantly on tap, becoming one of the most popular beer gardens in Chicago. It featured gorgeously manicured flowers and trees, outdoor stage and dance floor.

Anti-German sentiments during World War I created a need to rename The Bismarck Gardens. In 1915 it became The Marigold. In the 1930s, it was called Vanity Fair.

Moving from the past to the future: Plans to redevelop the area have been placed on the Chicago Plan Commission’s desk. JDL Development hopes to build 15-story and 12-story high rise buildings next to the IHOP, a plan backed by 46th Ward Ald. James Cappleman, despite some neighborhood resident opposition. There are others who like the plan.

Ald. Cappleman told Crain’s Chicago Business, “We know it’s going to have a profound impact on the ward. If you look just north of that area, in the 3800 block of N. Halsted, it’s starving for a shot in the arm. I think this is going to connect the retail on the southern end of the ward with the northern end.”

Estimated price tag? $73.4 million for 269 apartments or condos.

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Owning a Small Business is Harder than you Think

I’m doing three things here. First, I love sharing new talent on the news beat. This news video was reported by Northwestern University journalism grad student Alison Burdo. Second, I love Pie Hole Pizza Joint in Boystown, and owner Doug Brandt. He’s a local-brand-making genius. Lastly, Doug shares what many entrepreneurs are expressing right now: Most people don’t know how heavy a weight a neighborhood business feels during tough economic times.

Read Chicago Phoenix reports on Pie Hole’s adventure:

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Chicago Police Department will reduce the number of police districts by consolidating several of them. The Belmont and Town Hall districts that serve Lakeview will be merged. Read my Chicago Phoenix article for more details.
Chicago Phoenix, a Merewell publication, is the LGBT news leader in Chicago and the Midwest.
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Chicago Police Department will reduce the number of police districts by consolidating several of them. The Belmont and Town Hall districts that serve Lakeview will be merged. Read my Chicago Phoenix article for more details.

Chicago Phoenix, a Merewell publication, is the LGBT news leader in Chicago and the Midwest.

Click share this, on the right, to LIKE this article on Facebook or TWEET it on Twitter!

Two main proposals for ‘L’ modernization; closing North Side stations still considered

Six proposed alternatives for the Red and Purple Modernization project ultimately became four proposals after the latest round of public meetings. Chicago Transit Authority met with hundreds of residents in two public open houses on Monday, February 6 in Evanston, and Tuesday, February 7 at the Broadway Armory in Edgewater.

REFRESHED PROPOSALS

Two of the four proposals now on the table have no or minimal changes to the Red and Purple Lines. The first proposes no action whatsoever to Chicago’s rapid transit system. The second proposal is for only basic rehabilitation of current stations and turning Loyola station into a Red and Purple transfer station. Participants of the meetings, for the most part, viewed the two as not enough, considering stations are showing their advanced age.

Participants showed most interest in two main proposals, refreshed and on the table for serious consideration. One plan is called Modernization and the other is called Modernization without Consolidation.

The CTA defined modernization for participants as being, “comprehensive reconstruction of track, stations, and structures along the line, which would include considerable speed improvement.”

MODERNIZATION

Presenters described the renamed Modernization plan as, “Providing modern amenities at stations, modest increase in speed of service, includes new transfer station at Loyola, and major reconstruction and renovation to extend the useful life to 60-80 years.”

This plan includes the elimination of several CTA stations: Lawrence in Uptown, Thorndale in Edgewater, Jarvis in Rogers Park, South near St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, and Foster near the Northwestern University campus.

After refreshing the alternative proposals for the Red and Purple Modernization project, stations like Jarvis in Rogers Park may be closed permanently in one of two major choices. Photo by Wikipedia user JeremyA.

The CTA have taken into account the passionate views regarding station elimination and therefore are instead using the term “consolidation.” One of the presenters defined consolidation as “the reduction of the number of train stops coupled with the creation of new, secondary entrances at adjacent stations.”

Proponents of consolidation argue its ability to greatly improve efficiency and travel times.

Consolidation creates new entrances at nearby stations and the CTA explained that they may reposition or lengthen train platforms to create new access points at different street intersections. One of the CTA presenters said, “Adding secondary entrances to stations would shorten the walk time for many patrons, however, some patrons may have to adjust their commute.”

Secondary entrances are planned for the following Red Line stations under the consolidation plan: Howard (entry at Paulina and Rogers), Loyola (entry at Albion), Granville (entry at Glenlake), Bryn Mawr (entry at Hollywood), Berwyn (entry at Foster), Argyle (entry at Ainslie), Wilson (entry at Sunnyside), Addison (entry at Waveland). A new Irving Park station would adjoin or replace the present-day Sheridan stop.

Secondary entrances will be added to the following Purple Line stations: Noyes (entry at Gaffield), Davis (entry at Church), Dempster (entry at Greenwood), and Main (entry at Madison).

Edgewater’s Thorndale station may be closed permanently in one of two major Red and Purple Modernization project choices. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

Presenters stressed that no official decision has been made regarding consolidation and that in the planning process, they are still keeping an open mind to the other alternative, without consolidation.

MODERNIZATION WITHOUT CONSOLIDATION

The new Modernization without Consolidation proposal was not one of the original six alternative plans from last year. It was created as a response to public reaction from last year’s unveiling of proposals, which CBS 2 credited our own Rogers Park Facebook page for breaking news regarding station elimination being part of several plans.

Modernization without Consolidation goes ahead with major upgrades to all the stations without eliminating Lawrence, Thorndale, Jarvis, South and Foster. It too will last 60-80 years.

MUTUAL IMPROVEMENTS

Both the Modernization and Modernization without Consolidation plans include the expansion of current 6-car Purple Line trains to 8 cars, and have additional Express train access points at Wilson and Loyola. Present-day 8-car Red Line trains would expand to 10 cars.

Both plans would significantly straighten out 16 of 20 known curves, improving travel times.

Both plans include the possibility of constructing a flyover near the Belmont station that would allow Brown Line trains to enter and exit the station without having to cross over, and stop, Red and Purple Line traffic. It would reduce travel time for all three affected lines.

WHY IS THE RED AND PURPLE MODERNIZATION PROJECT NEEDED?

Presenters started the meetings with a basic outline of why the Red and Purple Modernization project is needed. They argued that the infrastructure is significantly past its useful life and that degradation has caused increased maintenance costs and has compromised service. Everyone agreed that the community relies on the ‘L’ and that stations need to have ADA accessibility. The CTA continued, “Old transit line infrastructure causes delays and unreliable travel times. We cannot accommodate all passengers on existing roads and buses.” They added, “The population of the area we’re talking about is growing and are highly reliant on public transportation.”

WHAT’S NEXT IN THE PLANNING PROCESS?

Now that the Red and Purple Modernization project has whittled down its choices, another round of public meetings to refine proposals will be announced for summer of this year. The meetings will feature cost and proposal updates, illustrated renderings of the proposed plans, and a summation of potential negative and positive effects of each plan. A Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement, also called an EIS, will be issued in 2013 and will be subject to public hearing. Later that year, a final EIS will be presented.

RESOURCES

Residents and business owners are invited to read the Red and Purple Modernization Project Handouts (PDF given out at the public meetings) and the Red and Purple Modernization Exhibit Boards (PDF of the presentation shown to participants).

INTERIM PROJECTS UNDERWAY

While the CTA still works on finalizing plans for the Red and Purple Modernization project, work will go ahead for interim improvements to Lawrence, Argyle, Bryn Mawr, Thorndale, Granville, Morse and Jarvis stations. A public meeting regarding the interim project is planned for March of this year. Read the original story.

Granville and six other north side CTA Red Line stations will receive interim improvements until a more permanent Red and Purple Modernization project begins. Photo by Gerald Farinas.

Wilson redevelopment is also forging ahead. It will become a transfer station for both Red and Purple Lines. A public meeting regarding Wilson is planned for early this summer.

Loyola station is being redeveloped in a separate project spearheaded by Loyola University Chicago. It will be donating property towards the creation of a plaza along N. Sheridan Road. Read the original story.

This is an illustration of an updated Loyola station, as part of a larger Loyola University Chicago master plan development, not taking into account the CTA’s proposals to turn Loyola into a Red and Purple Line transfer station.