Thursday, April 24, 2014

Another chance to speak up for Lake Shore Drive improvements

by Michelle Stenzel

North Avenue Beach pedestrian bridge at peak usage.
(Photo: Bike Walk Lincoln Park)

The North Lake Shore Drive project team has released its Draft “Purpose and Need” statement. (I know this already sounds very wonky and bureaucratic -- just stay with me for another two sentences.) A "P&N" statement should describe the current situation and the problems that are in existence, so that solutions to those problems can be addressed during the course of the project. It's an important document because if a problem is not well-described in the P&N statement, then no solutions that are proposed later on can be considered. 

When the North LSD Purpose and Need draft was released April 8th to members of the task forces and published on the project website, many of us were surprised to see included only some of the issues that had been brought up during the course of the public meetings and task force meetings of the prior eight months. Supporters of Bike Walk Lincoln Park met a few weeks ago and submitted a list of 47 specific problems that we believe exist just on the Grand Avenue-to-Diversey stretch of the project. (We received a general response letter from Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider, encouraging us to continue providing feedback to the project.)  -->

In the NLSD Draft Purpose and Need, the project team included many pages with detailed descriptions of problems facing motor vehicle drivers, but then gave only short and largely non-specific references to the many problems facing people using all other modes of transportation. The description of problems existing for public transit users is given especially superficial treatment. 

We plan to provide further input to the project team, urging them to make certain additions, and we’re co-hosting a meeting with Alderman Michele Smith’s office, with that purpose in mind. We’ll meet at the Lincoln Park branch of the library on Tuesday evening, April 29th starting at 6:00 pm, and you’re invited to attend. Please RSVP by e-mailing us because space is limited and we want to make sure we can accommodate everyone.

If you come, we urge you to read the Draft Purpose and Need statement carefully, and bring with you a list of the points you think should be included in our response.

If you’re not able to attend (or even if you are coming!), you can send an e-mail with your thoughts or suggestions directly to the North Lake Shore Drive project team via the comment form on the project website or to the e-mail address  Your e-mail statement becomes part of the public record. Every comment counts.

We hope to hear from you and see you next week! E-mail us questions at or post in the comments below.

WHAT:   Discussion of North Lake Shore Drive Purpose and Need Statement
WHEN:  Tuesday, April 29, 2014 from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
WHERE: Chicago Public Library, Lincoln Park Branch, 
                 1150 W. Fullerton, 60614 (Fullerton and Racine) 312-744-1926

RSVP:   Michelle Stenzel/Michael Reynolds

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