Height and Milwaukee Avenue (Part I)

Another interesting point of view that came out of the Milwaukee Avenue Corridor Development Initiative (also see Open Space and Milwaukee Avenue [Part 1]) concerns the desired height of the buildings along Milwaukee Avenue.

It took several sessions just to get the question right so that it adequately reflected the sentiments of participants concerning height:

What average height do you envision for new buildings along Milwaukee Avenue?

Fifty-four percent of workshop participants envision three- to four-story buildings.  [Correction:  The previous sentence reflects an earlier poll without the benefit of finer distinctions.]  A plurality of 37.5 % of workshop participants envision three- to four-story buildings, and 22.5% see two- to three-story buildings along Milwaukee Avenue.  This surprised the organizers of the workshops, the Metropolitan Planning Council.  Previous initiatives in Lawndale, for example (see Visualize the development you want to see), showed the desire for taller, four- to six-story buildings along the Ogden Avenue commercial corridor there.

Context is again important

Ogden Avenue, with six lanes of travel, two service lanes and two parking lanes, may be able to handily absorb four- to six-story buildings, or, in fact, more.  In contrast, building-to-building, Milwaukee Avenue is a relatively narrow street with two lanes of travel, two parking lanes and relatively narrow sidewalks.  Too high buildings have the potential to be overbearing in this much narrower context.

An additional context is the existing character of the neighborhood and existing scale of buildings along the Milwaukee Avenue corridor.  Though I don’t have numbers for the whole stretch of Milwaukee Avenue considered as part of the workshops, on Milwaukee Avenue between the MegaMall on the 2500 block and Wisner on the 2800 block, 36 percent of the buildings are two-story, 33 percent are one-story, 23 percent are three-story, 5 percent are four-story, and 3 percent are five- or six-story.

The community response on the height question in the context of existing heights suggests that people are willing to see an additional story or two to allow for progress, but they don’t want new buildings grossly out of character with the existing building stock.

Next:  New and old, side by side

Fall diversions in Logan Square:

Chain LinkSulzen Fine Art Studio’s “Mix’n it up,” with an opening reception Friday, October 2, from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. with a musical performance by Anna Fermin of Trigger Gospel; show continues  Saturday and Sunday, October 3 &
4, from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., at
2720 W. St. Georges Court.Alpha Bruton jazz series

Vibrational Sound Narratives opening reception FridaySaturday, October 23, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., at Elastic Arts Foundation, 2830 N. Milwaukee Avenue, followed by poetry readings and musical performance as part of the 4th Annual Chicago Calling Arts Festival. [Update:  My apologies for getting the date of the opening reception wrong; the exhibition continues through October 31.]


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