Wrapping things up with the 3 P’s of marketing/parking as they relate to the Emmett Street parking lot (beginning with The 3 P’s of parking [P-1]):
Promotion is like “show and tell,” in this case show and tell drivers that the lot exists, where it’s at and how to get there.
In the past year, I have read others’ blog posts lamenting a lack of parking in this area, one for someone who missed the opening act at a Logan Square Auditorium show while circling for parking and another rushed through a movie experience at Logan Theater for lack of quarters to feed the meters (before the prevalence of pay boxes on Milwaukee Avenue). Both times I have commented to let the writers and their readers know about the Emmett Street lot.
While in a great location, the Emmett Street lot is not highly visible. There are three ways to enter the lot (see photo below), all of which require a prior knowledge that the lot is there.
Access to the Logan Square/Emmett St. Lot
Where it’s at
The first option is off Emmett Street itself, but a driver (I write of those without knowledge of the lot’s existence) would have to have had a reason to drive down Emmett Street to begin with as it’s a residential street with residential permit parking signs posted. I posit that few drivers would just happen upon the Emmett Street entrance in this manner.
The second option is from the alley (south)west of the lot, south of Sawyer Avenue (which jogs east-west at this point). First a driver would have to have a reason to turn east on Sawyer Avenue. But for the commercial buildings that front Milwaukee Avenue at this corner, the rest of the block is residential, and I doubt a driver would bother with the short commercial strip in a quest for parking. But if he did venture down Sawyer Avenue, he would have no reason to enter the alley in his quest.
The final access option is from the McDonald’s parking lot to the (south)west, crossing the alley into the public parking lot, and, well, why would a driver enter a private parking lot in search of public parking?
For those few who may happen down Emmett Street or the alley, there are signs identifying the lot (photo right). A third similar sign is placed facing the “el” stop/bus depot where no private vehicles may enter, though there is merit to promoting the lot to transit riders who may be waiting to transfer to a bus from an “el” ride.
How to get there
There are two of the universally recognized green parking signs with a “P” and an arrow pointing straight ahead on Milwaukee Avenue. One by the bus stop at the “el” stop/bus depot (photo right), and another just past the entrance to the McDonald’s parking lot (photo below). Unless these signs have been placed to highlight street parking (unlikely), they are not helpful, as they point a driver straight ahead, past a way into the Emmett Street lot. The alley (south)west of the Emmett Street parking lot, though now barricaded with a guard rail, was once open to the “el” stop/bus depot drive, but I don’t recall the drive ever being open to private vehicle traffic that would explain the first sign. I do vaguely recall another sign that was once posted below the second sign which may have explained to drivers that they could gain access to public parking through the McDonald’s parking lot, but it is long gone.
Some private businesses have filled in the promotional gap for the benefit of their customers. When the Torres family took over the now
Torres-Omar Jewelry store, it posted a banner first outside, and later inside the store (image above) alerting and mapping for its (often suburban) customers the location of the public parking lot.
The Logan Theater similarly alerts and maps out the parking location for its customers (photo left).
There is also a sign at the top of 2715 N. Milwaukee Avenue (photo below), perhaps put up for the benefit of a prior building tenant, but given the traffic on Milwaukee Avenue, the staggered intersection with Sawyer Avenue, the pedestrian crosswalk and drivers’ hunt for available parking, I doubt that anyone, and hope that no one, is looking toward the sky for parking directions.
It is my hope that, along with some future Milwaukee Avenue streetscaping, will come appropriate and coordinated wayfinding signage for the Emmett Street lot. In the meantime, it would seem in the interest of LAZ Parking/Chicago Parking Meters, LLC to show and tell about this parking lot.
Holiday diversions in Logan Square:
Chicago ARTillery’s Logan Square Holiday Art Sale and Show: Saturday,
December 5, from 2:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., at Anywhere Space Studio, 2328 N. Milwaukee Ave. and Cole’s bar, 2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.