The other concept the BikeWalk Logan Square committee is exploring for the Logan Square “el” station “plaza” (see also Park concept for Logan Square “el” station and Let’s put the Logan Square “el” station “plaza” out of its misery) is a much enhanced plaza.
As previously stated, beyond the mechanics of the train and bus transportation, our group wants to include and move beyond the multi-modal transportation aspect of the hub to create an aesthetically inviting destination.
In addition to the suggested improvements to various transportation modes and access to the station (see Improving multi-modal access and experience at the Logan Square transportation hub and Additional multi-modal access ideas at the Logan Square transportation hub), we propose additional changes mainly focused on what can only loosely be called a “plaza” currently, the area to the west of the station canopy.
Starting at the top of the image above (click on image to enlarge; north is to the right), this concept also envisions narrowing the bus lane to expand the plaza area. With the right trim, this might become a destination for mobile food dispensers as people sit under shade trees or a pergola.
The pergola is another way to add shade to the plaza; a portion could be overhung with some type of climbing vine. Perhaps the pergola snakes around the edges of the plaza. It could add a boost of color by itself (see, for example, photo above of a pergola) or with some type of flowering vine. Hanging flower baskets could also be hung.
We also want to add seating to the plaza. Like the park concept, this could also be café tables and chairs. Maybe they’re moveable to allow people to move them to sun or shade as they may prefer depending on the day and their wishes. We would need some local stewardship to lock them down at night when there are fewer eyes watching others’ behavior — just so they don’t walk away.
There could also be benches. Perhaps they, too, snake around the edges of the plaza (see, for example, photo right of the Lucile Soufflet circular bench) and could add a splash of color.
In keeping with the concept of a plaza, this concept is more hardscape with the surface primarily permeable pavers or concrete. Though there’s no reason not to add color to the pavement as well (see, for example, photo left). Colors might further define paths within the plaza and guide snow clearance in the winter months.
In addition to permeable pavement, some rain gardens can be used to capture run-off. These could be in the form of raised planters capturing the run-off from the station canopy (see, for example, middle photo left of a rain garden) or at grade level capturing rain and excess run-off from the pavement, or a combination of the two.
In addition, perhaps we could add accent lighting in the form of fiber optic “reeds” in the rain garden (see, for example, photo above of lighted “reeds”).
In this plaza concept we also show two stations for vendor kiosks. These could be some sort of permanent shelter or simply an assigned location for vendor carts in the plaza.
Also, to add more of both color and height to the plaza, we propose a living wall or two (see, for example, photo right). These are vertical gardens. They could surround three sides of the elevator, for example, or be worked into some sort of tower or column structure that artists could layer with plants and organic materials like stone.
Finally, in both the park and plaza concepts, we have kept the center area open for activity or exhibitions that might be another attraction to the plaza. That might take the form of musicians playing, a temporary installation like The Uni, rotating art exhibitions, or any number of creative activities our neighborhood is prone to.
How about this plaza? Can you see yourself in it (see image below)? What components do you like? And what’s missing?