Shadow Study and High Rise Impacts

21 May

Summer is here…right!? Either way the recent sunlight posed an interesting question among friends who live in the shadows of nearby high rises, ‘Besides traffic and density concerns, what can such highrises do to our streets and daily atmosphere?’

These days large scale developments (buildings over 9 stories) are often required or strongly urged to provide ‘shadow studies‘. These are pretty nifty visual diagrams that show where a building’s shadow falls during different times of the day and during different times of year (often when the sun is highest in our sky and lowest).

To some this may seem a bit over protective but think about it, you live in a residential area and suddenly two blocks away a 30 story building goes in. Your morning’s, once bathed in sunlight, are now forever dark. Not to sound too melodramatic but these types of incidents happen all the time. In other cases, park remains sunny for less time as a shadow sweeps across its grass throughout the day like a sundial. Streets become canyons in some cases (just go downtown).

As your sun bathing this weekend, take a look around and see if your roof deck, favorite spot in the park or kitchen window is in danger of becoming sunless.

Just another example of why we need to be vigilant about high rise development in Edgewater.

Thanks for the tip Summer.

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Protecting Neighborhood Character

18 May

After blogging about the active and action oriented neighbors down in Lakeview a few weeks ago, it appears that community involvement in that particular development has ceased. Not all hope is lost, however. From this great example of citizens coming together to voice their concerns about a particular development, a new citywide website has been born!

CHICAGO NEIGHBORS FIRST is a citywide advocacy site that aims to do exactly what this blog has been trying to accomplish- ‘help Chicago neighbors find their voice in how development proceeds in their community!’

The new site, like this one, does not strive to eliminate development or oppose ALL development, but instead encourage residents to look behind the development curtain and see what’s really going on. Participation is the first step in ensuring responsible and beneficial developments are constructed in our neighborhoods.

If you have a chance please check out this site and reach out to Alderman Osterman and get to the bottom of development in Edgewater!

Neighborhood Character

14 May

I saw that Budget Travel’s May issue mentions some great places in our neighborhood including M Henry and Flourish, oddly enough claiming they are part of Andersonville. Regardless, these spots among many others represent hte character of our great neighborhood. Small eateries, locally owned and within walking distance for many. People from throughout the city come to the area to experience these more low key establishments in our more low key community. Still, just like Wicker Park years ago and perhaps the West Loop, this ‘character’ can be changed in a short time with the influx of unchecked development. The new mixed use construction touted by developers often includes national chains or bank branches or other sterile characterless institutions that don’t really add much to the community.

Like M Henry, this is just some delicious food…for thought.

Enjoy!

Rental Tower on Sheridan Road?

10 May

It seems everywhere you read these days someone is talking about the new ‘rental market’ boom in Chicago. The question for neighbors in Edgewater is when will this so called boom reach our neighborhoods, or has it already?

It’s great that the real estate market is finding its footing once again but can we afford to return so quickly to the knee jerk building of the last few decades? The beat up condo market has left our area with high vacancies, can we really afford to have developers build 15-20+ story high rise buildings that may run in to similar problems? Isn’t Chicago’s population actually dwindling?

The site on Sheridan Road near Foster seems perfect for some high rise rental development. We’ve got to keep the pressure on newly elected Alderman Osterman and make sure hte community has say in the height and impact such a development would have on our community.

Harry Osterman

5539 N. Broadway St.
Chicago, Illinois 60640
Phone:312-806-4345
Fax: 847-332-1998

Rezone on Sheridan Road

6 May

A couple days ago the city council did what we all knew they’d do, they approved the plans for the old Lincoln Park Hospital site. The point of this blog is not to pass judgement on other developments in different neighborhoods, however, this project has been well publicized and illustrates a more relevant issue: zoning.

When it comes to developments, zoning can make or break a project. In Lincoln Park it proved to be a big hurdle and the fight doesn’t appear to be over yet.

In Edgewater and along Sheridan Road we have the opportunity to ‘down zone’ the property next to the new grocery store at the corner of Foster & Sheridan. We do not need a 20 story rental building in our neighborhood! If you agree, sign our petition and let Alderman-elect Harry Osterman hear from you!

No Wal-Mart in Edgewater

3 May

Those Chicagoans following development and local affairs will have already heard about the potential Wal-Mart proposed in the Lakeview/Lincoln Park neighborhoods. To everyone else the Arkansas big box retailer is looking to build a 32,000 square foot store at 2840 N. Broadway near the Bed Bath and Beyond. Active residents have been quick to make their voices heard and the Alderman has already stepped up to oppose the project.

Friends of this site explained that some of the opposition leaders are planning to show a documentary on Wal-Mart tomorrow night, May 4th at Landmark Cinema on N. Clark Street (730pm).

All of this talk brings up an important question for our area, would we rally to stop such a project in Edgewater? The greater problem, it seems, is that approving just one WalMart would likely open the door for dozens more. Each store providing its own impacts in the form of traffic, crime, and poor employee treatment among many others. Food for thought.

For more info on the lakeview fight, check out their facebook page.

Lakeside Motel

30 Apr

I was walking up Sheridan the other day and remembered the old Lakeside Motel and the proposed Bluewater development at 5440 N Sheridan. Has anyone heard anything new on THAT project?

It was mentioned briefly at the end of last year but I wonder if they’re also looking to build a high-rise there as well. I remember the original plans started some five years ago and went in and out of the public’s spotlight as development projects tend to do these days.

Are developers quietly waiting in the high grass, ready to pounce on these lots or are we just thinking the worst? Let us know what you think!

In other news-

See you all at the Public Safety Meeting today!

A Time and a Place for Everything

27 Apr

A recent article on Curbed Chicago explains that a new 49 story tower will be breaking ground this fall, 49 stories! If you listen to the ‘experts’ on the street who think they know and understand all that is real estate you’d think that in these times no developer wants to build anything. This project, by Almi Residential, is clear evidence that new buildings, in desirable neighborhoods, are being built. The CEO of Almi is quoted as saying, “We’ve rebounded as an industry at such and incredible pace that I can’t believe it.”

There is a time and a place for everything. This development, placed downtown, appears to be a good fit and at the right time. People living in that area know what to expect in terms of traffic, congestion, and density.  As one gets further and further out from the loop however it becomes clear that people like city living but no longer need the 34the floor rental apartment. Regardless of whether or not you agree, it’s important to KNOW what’s going on in our neighborhood and the open lot at Foster and Sheridan continues to leave many questions unanswered.

Traffic in Edgewater

23 Apr

As our community continues to grow, even in these down economic times, issues like traffic and car speed become a more important issue to discuss. I recently read an article from the Active Transportation Alliance that talks about ways to slow traffic in urban areas. Those of us who live on Sheridan Road know how fast cars can speed down our streets (when there’s no traffic). ATA identifies a few ways of slowing these speeders including, speed humps, stop signs, narrowing our roads, street gardens, bike lanes, and medians to name a few.The brief article is complimentary to outgoing Alderman Mary Ann Smith as she has actively been working to improve our streets and traffic flow. It also mentions our active citizenry, a group that will need to continue its advocacy with the newly elected Alderman, Harry Osterman.

One thing that the piece fails to mention is density control and smart development. When we continue to shoehorn large developments into postage stamp lots and then provide 2:1 parking spot ratios we invite so many cars into our neighborhoods that one has to look at these bike lanes, laugh and wonder, “who’s using them?!”

PLANNING FOR OUR FUTURE

20 Apr

Neighborhood interest in this site continues to grow, however, it seems that little NEW information is forth coming. The FOR SALE sign remains at the now seeded site of a rumored high-rise rental or condominium building near the corner of Foster and Sheridan Roads but nothing more is known.

Someone recently suggested working as a community to place a height restriction on the property so that development in our area remains at a manageable level. This certainly represents a pro-active move to ensure that traffic, traffic accidents, and congestion levels remain stable in Edgewater.

As always, the point of this site is not to stop all development, but to instigate an open dialogue with developers and elected officials. The new grocery store is a great addition, however, that coupled with the 32 story planned residence building will create a tipping point at that intersection that we may not see for years until it’s too late and this site is already under construction and therefore at a point of no return.

Call the new Alderman or the Real Estate company. Let’s try and get the facts on this site!

As always feel free to share your thoughts with us!