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Thread: An example of annoying Chicago-style NIMBYism

  1. #1

    An example of annoying Chicago-style NIMBYism

    Okay, just for the sake of discussion (and venting my frustration), I will briefly present a project in the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Chicago. It involves 2 former manufacturing buildings on west Belmont Avenue--this is a decent middle-class neighborhood with CTA access, yet still not yet gentrified. It has retail but has relatively less density than its cousins to the east.

    A developer plans to convert one of the former factories, pictured below, into residential lofts with ground level retail:



    A second adjacent building (not pictured) will be demolished. Due to demand by locals for more PARKING (YUCK!) in the neighborhood, it would be replaced by a single-story retail center with plenty of parking (the retail buildings front the street, but otherwise YUCK!). However, in a recent community meeting the developer proposed instead to replace the second building with a 10 story residential building with ground level retail. The city's head of Economic Development, a newly appointed gentleman with a long history of supporting TOD, presented the benefits of TOD and density to the community.

    A friend of mine named Shawn was at the meeting, and this is what he described:

    "The community was outraged, and I was one of a very few who spoke in favor of the project, although I did get some applauds when I finished with some other people yelling critizisms at me...../.......nearly everyone has had thier minds completley warped by car-culture. IT was ****ing ridiculas. They complained that not enough parking was provided even though 40 spaces are to be provided for retial customers. Alot of people even laughed at the the thought that some of these residents 'would have no car'. Some stupid bitch even said that "Albany Park down the street has an over extreme level of urbanity and parking is impossible."
    ......./........Jefferson Park needs more poeple to reactivate the retail district, which many pople did aknowledge, but they complained about the traffic and said most people drive rather than take the train. I guess that is because so few of these morons actually use public transportation on a consistatant baisis. Another stupid bitch said she wont take CTA because its unsafe.

    Don't expect this project happen in its current form. My anti-density alderman dosen't want a 10 story building, even though the planning department is working with the developer on this.."


    The Alderman himself has tried to STOP previous projects that were urban and mildly dense, simply because he wants to appease these kinds of people who don't know what's good for them. He tried to block a multi-level condo project that was NOT out of character of its area, even though it was appropriate for its zoning assignment--the Alderman failed and the project was built

    Anyway, this kind of garbage is an example of what may pan out to be the greatest obstacle to urbanization this country will ever face. Americans have been so subdued by car culture and anti-density jargon that I honestly think people have no clue what really makes a community function any more. Cities are pervaded with suburban-minded people, and this is a sad truth. I hope municipalities can learn to overcome these obstacles, even if it requires a mild abandonment of the democratic process--because to be honest, I think most voters are just too goddamn stupid to even deserve a say in many of these types of issues!!!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Oh to have your problems. We have the same sort of development here, but these things have yet to interconnect with older development to any degree. Once they begin clashing however I can see this happening.

    I do find the shocked transit questions funny. My sis lived in Lincoln Park for close to four years without a car, and never wanted one while she was there.

    I guess you can take the boy outta the suburbs but you can never take the suburbs out of the boy?
    Last edited by DetroitPlanner; 10 Nov 2005 at 3:16 PM.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    nearly everyone has had thier minds completley warped by car-culture.
    Ha! That's a great line! Yet it is depressingly true.
    Adrift in a sea of beige

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Hmmm... Is there the possibility that the residents are correct, and it is difficult to park in the neighborhood? Is it possible that they are correct in saying that people would prefer to drive to shops, or stop on their way home from work, instead of always having to walk? If I remember rightly from living there for thirty years, winters are cold and snowy and summers are hot and humid. I'd rather make one trip to a grocery store in my car instead of walking three or four times. Maybe another solution for this developer would be to construct his ten story building but provide a parking deck to meet the demand.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Hmmm... Is there the possibility that the residents are correct, and it is difficult to park in the neighborhood? Is it possible that they are correct in saying that people would prefer to drive to shops, or stop on their way home from work, instead of always having to walk? If I remember rightly from living there for thirty years, winters are cold and snowy and summers are hot and humid. I'd rather make one trip to a grocery store in my car instead of walking three or four times. Maybe another solution for this developer would be to construct his ten story building but provide a parking deck to meet the demand.
    ^Proposed retail would have 40 parking spaces in a garage.

    I don't think a grocery store is what was planned there in the first place. Lack of parking is NEVER a good excuse. I can't think of a single reason why even 1 more parking space should be constructed in all of Chicago. Parking always creates more problems than it solves. If you want to drive everywhere, you know where you should be living, and it doesn't start with C.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian ijustkrushalot's avatar
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    uhg... forget parking... I about get sick when i think of a set-back development project next to that building...

    Just from a design standpoint, that would kill spatial deffinition, and look horrible.


    this mindset keeps up, and in 50 years Champaign will just be another "southern suburb of Chicago"

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