Plans for drive-through on Milwaukee Avenue

March 20, 2012

McDonald’s revealed its plans for the 2707 N. Milwaukee Avenue property at last month’s community meeting.

The alderman began the meeting touting the changes as supporting the corporate McDonald’s concept of hip and its desire to appeal to a new breed of customer, one who lingers in the restaurant and enjoys the Wi-Fi access.  I think these are customers who would embrace a pedestrian orientation and would gladly do without the drive-through.  The drive-through plans and flaunting of the “pedestrian street” designation (see Save Milwaukee Avenue’s pedestrian orientation) appear to conflict with the new McDonald’s concept.

The plan shows that the west/Milwaukee Avenue side of the building will stay where it is now, several feet from the property line.  (Unfortunately, McDonald’s Corporation’s representative has not returned repeated calls requesting a rendering of the plans to share here.)  The north and south sides of the building will also stay, while the east side will accommodate the expanded building, moving several feet to the east.

At the time of the community meeting, what should be the front face of the building with its bright yellow awning was oriented toward the drive-through rather than toward pedestrians on the street.  Instead, the Milwaukee Avenue face would be the typical side façade of McDonald’s redesign.

The former “pedestrian street” designation calls for buildings to be built to the sidewalk, not several feet back, but at the point of last month’s meeting, McDonald’s would not entertain bringing the building to the sidewalk.  The construction manager stated that they could not build to the sidewalk because of accessible requirements with the two exit doors to Milwaukee Read the rest of this entry »

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Community meeting February 2 re: drive-through on Milwaukee Avenue

January 30, 2012

There will be a community meeting regarding the proposed expanded drive-through for the McDonald’s property at 2707 N. Milwaukee Avenue.  The meeting will be held Thursday, February 2, 6:30 p.m. at 2706 N. Sawyer Avenue.

McDonald’s on Milwaukee Avenue

While the “pedestrian street” designation was lifted last month at the request and behest of the alderman to make way for the drive-through (see Update on Milwaukee Avenue “pedestrian street” designation), Read the rest of this entry »


Update on Milwaukee Avenue “pedestrian street” designation

December 19, 2011

Business as usual

On December 13, 2011, the Chicago Committee on Zoning conducted a public hearing regarding removing the “pedestrian street” designation for the portion of Milwaukee Avenue between Kedzie and Sawyer Avenues.  This despite the fact that the applicant (in this case the alderman/the city) did not meet (as acknowledged by the acting city Zoning Administrator) the notice requirements necessary for the hearing to take place.

According to the Chicago Zoning Ordinance, Section 17-13-0100:

No hearing will be scheduled or conducted until the applicant complies with all applicable notice requirements.

As the applicant, the alderman explained that he introduced the ordinances in order to allow the McDonald’s franchise at 2707 N. Milwaukee Avenue to construct a new building and maintain its driveway and drive-through.  He stated that the dimensions and diameters of the existing driveway and drive-through would not change.  He also said that he would later re-designate Milwaukee Avenue a “pedestrian street.”

Five residents (myself, Steven Vance, Christy Prahl, Mike Jaskula, and Nicole Semple) testified in opposition to the proposed lifting of the “pedestrian street” designation for a variety of reasons.

The McDonald’s franchise owner and her attorney were the only people to speak in favor of the proposal.  Contrary to the alderman’s statement, they (and the acting city Zoning Administrator as well) revealed that they planned to increase the drive-through capacity at this site.  Oddly, the owner touted another McDonald’s franchise she owns on four-lane North Avenue at the busy, car-centric intersection of Grand and Kostner Avenues as an example of how nice it will be for Milwaukee Avenue.  She really wasn’t grasping the concept of a pedestrian oriented street.

As is typical of zoning in Chicago, the Committee on Zoning deferred to Read the rest of this entry »


Logan Square in Vogue

August 3, 2011

Literally!

In its “Destination of the Month: Chicago” article, Vogue.com singles out Logan Square as “Another Happening ‘Hood.”

Highlighted are Longman & Eagle, newcomer Telegraph, perennial favorite Lula Café and, a little bit down the avenue, The Whistler.

The nation is taking notice.

(HT @johna_picco.)


Independent businesses and artists together (Part II)

June 30, 2011

I’m finishing up the discussion (for now) about the Logan Square Arts and Business Center (Logan Square ABC).  I’ve had a lot to say about it already because I believe it’s a promising direction for a vital Milwaukee Avenue and Logan Square.

Making room for business

While the Logan Square ABC lends legitimacy to the artist tenants, it can also create room to thrive and grow for business tenants.  Like so many entrepreneurs, one of the founders of the Logan Square Mompreneurs, Carolyn Ou, started her Sandbox Consulting career and business coaching business from her home.  But, as a mom, that quickly meant doing business out of her car!

With two kids at home, the car was often the only place she could find the quiet to coach her clients by phone.  Even when there was relative quiet on the home front, Carolyn found it difficult to separate home and work life.

She moved out of the home and into another co-office space that she shared with another.  When her co-office mate decided not to renew the lease, Carolyn was faced with the less appealing choices of moving back to her car! or facing the possibility of having to keep finding co-office Read the rest of this entry »


Best neighborhood ever! Logan Square

June 23, 2011

I really hadn’t planned on it.  I’d covered the Chicago Reader’s “Best of” issues for the past three years.  I thought I was through with it, at least for the time being.  I didn’t encourage readers to vote in this year’s Chicago Reader’s “Best of Chicago 2011” polls.

But, dammit! “Best Overall Neighborhood” merits a blog post.

Best Overall Neighborhood – Logan Square

But not just Best Overall Neighborhood; how about:

Best Neighborhood for Affordability – Logan Square

(runner-up) Best Neighborhood for Culture – Logan Square

(runner-up) Best Neighborhood for Diversity – Logan Square

(runner-up) Best Neighborhood for Nightlife – Logan Square.

After having to work to find last year’s Logan Square gems (see “Best of” closest to the square), this year’s edition was chock full of Logan Square, which, like the whole of Chicago, does its share of “world-class dining scene,”  “grassroots arts movement,” and “one beautiful mess of highbrow and low.”  It’s almost all Logan Square, all the time this year, so I’ve not distinguished the Reader’s picks from the Reader’s readers’ picks.  [Update:  How did I Read the rest of this entry »


Independent businesses and artists together (Part I)

June 8, 2011

Who are the businesses and artists independent together–like Rudolph and Herbie (see video below)–at the Logan Square Arts and Business Center (Logan Square ABC) and how do they see the space?

Lending credence to art

Artist/curator/educator/consultant Alpha Bruton (see sample of her work here–scroll to bottom) was the first to sign on as a tenant at the Logan Square Arts and Business Center in July 2010.  Not surprisingly, Alpha had also accepted Susan Fox’s invitation to the open house for the co-working/co-office space Read the rest of this entry »