More thoughts on the (Woodard) plaza proposal


Late to the game (it’s been around since 2008), I recently discovered this clever bike rack/public bench/subway vent (photo below) that is a good idea for the proposed plaza rework at the triangle north of the Milwaukee-Kimball-Diversey intersection (see Improving on the [Woodard] plaza proposal).

NYC MTA Bike Rack-Public Bench-Subway Vent

There’s already an existing CTA vent (image below), so why not put it to some use by putting a bike rack and benches on top?  The bike rack would supplement the proposed bike rack on the opposite side of the plaza , and the benches would serve those waiting for the bus.  The raised design would additionally prevent storm water from falling into the “el” system and redirect it to the planned filtration component of the plaza proposal.


I also had another thought regarding the seating area.  I would like to see some of the stepped benches with a riser or seat back tall enough to provide back support to plaza users.  Think about it.  Say you’re at a bar and the choice is a backless bar stool or a stool with a back, which do you choose?  Most would choose the one with the back for the comfort it offers.  In order to invite people to use the plaza, you similarly want to provide comfortable seating.

What else do you think the plaza needs to make it work?


In case you missed it, I also added as a comment an idea I had previously neglected to include about addressing the issue of snow shoveling.

And finally, a regular reader pointed out an error I made about the street direction of Barry Avenue east of Kimball Avenue.  I have corrected the maps at the Street vacation requires new street direction post.

N.b:  Join in the conversation and leave a comment for the chance to receive gifts from local businesses.

Spring diversions in Logan Square:

Chicago Craft Beer Week Kick-Off with
Two Brothers
:  bring your passport
the first stop on the beer
train Thursday, May 19, from
5:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m. at
Owen & Engine.

5 Responses to More thoughts on the (Woodard) plaza proposal

  1. mig says:

    i like the idea of using the vent for a function that will muffle the sound and take up space otherwise undesired. in my mind, this works great as a bike rack space, but i don’t know how fun it’d be to sit over then megaphone of train noise and the poof of dragon breath air.

    mig: Ha! hadn’t thought of that. I suppose it depends on what’s immediately below that vent. And I like the idea of using something to muffle sound. ~ Lynn

  2. isa says:

    I’m wondering what the new mayor’s plan to open up more public spaces is going to do to conversations like this one. He seems to be encouraging more re-usable spaces, so hopefully we’ll be seeing more mini-park areas around the neighborhood. I guess my main concern is that this park be an area that isn’t just a local hangout for homeless guys–like the fireman park.

    isa: That’s why it’s so important to design it for people and activity, why I think it needs a regular draw. The more people are drawn to utilize it, the more people will come and continue to activate it. In sufficient number, people and activity tend to dissuade less desirable uses.

    I recently read (sorry I don’t recall where) that the solution to active public places is the triumvirate of food, a water feature and a play area — these are things that attract people. Preliminary designs for this plaza have none of those, though it does plan for future food for about half the year. ~ Lynn

  3. I just found a plant box-cum-bike rack called Plantlock that might be used here as well.

  4. I found another interesting piece of street furniture that would be unique and perhaps a draw at this plaza: the Pit In, a ride-in table for cyclists.

  5. Emily says:

    I am a student of Urban Planning and a resident of Logan Square and am interested in learning more about the Woodard Plaza proposal. Have there been any further conversations since the public meeting in May 2011? Other than the graphics on Alderman Colon’s website, are there any public documents about this project? Any information would be very helpful. Thanks!

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