There will be a public meeting regarding the concept of a public plaza to be located in the triangle north of the Milwaukee-Diversey-Kimball corner on Tuesday, March 8 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting location is 3429 W. Diversey Avenue, 2nd floor (Voice of the City/above the Family Dollar).
The idea is to vacate the small portion of Woodard Street located between Kimball Avenue on the east and Milwaukee Avenue on the west in order to claim the roadway for people rather than cars, and to improve on the sorry plaza space that currently exists.
I support vacating Woodard Street to reclaim it for people with this condition: if the traffic direction of the streets north of it are reconfigured.
Right now, headed south on Kimball Avenue from Belmont Avenue to Diversey Avenue, cars and bikes (abiding the law) have only two options to travel west to Milwaukee Avenue: at the first block just south of Belmont Avenue on Barry Avenue and on the last block just north of Diversey Avenue on Woodard Street. Miss the turn at Barry Avenue and cars and bikes must travel a quarter-mile out of the way and possibly a quarter-mile back up Milwaukee Avenue. With Woodard Street gone, cars and bikes would further have to make an awkward 45° turn on Milwaukee Avenue.
Requiring unnecessary mileage multiplied by many cars can easily negate any “green” features the proposed plaza may tout.
I am disappointed to learn that once again another project is farther along than it should be prior to the first community meeting about the plaza proposal. Time and money has been spent to come up with concepts before even asking the community “What’s the use case?”
Visit an architect. On the first visit, right after shaking your hand, she unrolls plans for a house. “Here are some sketches….”
Wait. That’s backward.
Sketches for what? How do you know if I want a house or an office building? How am I to judge these plans? Is it a mind reading exercise?
The most effective way to sell the execution of an idea is to describe the use case first. And before you can do that, you need to have…enough information to figure out what would delight them.
After months of planning for and designing the orchard/Logan Square public plaza space, the question of what is the desired use for the space has yet to be answered. This mistake should not happen again. Substitute “the community” for “I” below:
Don’t show me a project…without first telling me what it’s supposed to do when it works properly. First, because I might not want that result. And second, how else am I supposed to judge if it’s good or not without knowing what you’re trying to do….
Without knowing the community’s desire for the space, I have my own desires drawn from the concept proposed (image above): I would like to see paths through the space where the proposal forces people to the center, to a destination. I would like to see the angles of the triangle used to better advantage where the circular nature of the proposal leaves much of the area to the south without a purpose or use. I would like to see some modern take on the abandoned newstand that still stands, something that would be an attraction to people.
Once the community’s desired use for the space is determined, some other questions for Tuesday might be:
- Does the design concept adequately support what the community desires for the space?
- Does it have the flexibility to test uses or evolve over time?
- Who will maintain the site?
This is another meeting that has not been well-publicized within the community. I encourage you to spread the word and attend the public meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8, 6:30 p.m. at 3429 W. Diversey Avenue.