Monday, April 28, 2008

Reminder: Lawrence/Wilson Viaduct Meeting Tonight

Make sure to stop by Truman College tonight at 6pm for the Lawrence/Wilson Viaduct Meeting. We recently featured these crumbling bridges in our "Bridges of Uptown County" photo spread. Also, make sure to ask the folks if these bridges will be replaced, or merely patched. The last thing these dangerous eyesores need is a measly patch. Speak up!


  1. I really wish I could make it tonight, but I have a prior engagement.

    Residential buildings are fined and forced to replace poorly constructed porches, so why shouldn't the city have the same requirements for bridges? Maybe Helen should pay the fine (out of her own pocket) since they are her responsibility and, with out a doubt, in violation.

  2. CDOT decides what, when and where to make repairs. Not the alderman.

  3. Yes FYI,
    But someone has allowed them to continually bypass the Uptown infrastructure for years with no upgrades and no questioning. Who could that be?

  4. Go check out the bridges over LSD at Foster (in the 48th) and at Belmont (44th) and compare. You can see a big difference in our 46th ward.

  5. If an alderman can make decisions on zoning, chicken raising and stating opinions on the Iraq war, they sure as hell can make a few calls to CDOT were they to notice (or care about) deteriorating infrastructure.

    She doesn't get, nor deserve, a pass.

    Her ward. Her viaducts.

    Don't apologize for neglect.

  6. I went to the meeting tonight. There were about five people from CDOT and/or another organization and maybe five residents. The plan is to completely rebuild the bridges on Wilson and Lawrence from scratch starting in 2010. Work is anticipated to take 16 months and is dependent upon funding (federal money, but state legislature has to appropriate it and we know how efficient they are with passing capital bills). During construction LSD will be three lanes in each direction and some of those lanes will be on the (temporarily) paved-over median. The bridges were built in the 1930s and will be rebuilt in the same style with the same lamps, etc. Except that the 4-foot medians in the middle of Wilson and Lawrence under the bridges will be removed to accommodate bike lanes on both sides of the underpass.

    The speakers said they anticipate that LSD (Irving Park to Hollywood) will eventually have to be rebuilt from the foundation up because it is in poor condition - the bridges will be constructed so that they won't need to be rebuilt at that time. (So at least one group is trying to avoid government waste!) They also said they will be repaving the north part of LSD (as a temporary fix) shortly.

  7. I wanted to be there but I spent 40 minutes circling the college looking for a parking spot. After parking 7 blocks away and walking through the rain, I arrived 10 minutes after the meeting ended.

    It would have been nice to be told that we could park in the Truman lot. After I arrived, I talked to security and they said I could have parked there. You wouldn't know it from the Lincoln Towing signs and the Faculty Parking Only signs and the Student Permit Or Your Will Be Towed signs in that lot.

    And, what is with the permit parking zone in the three blocks located on the south side of the college? Without permits, cars are barred from parking there until 7:00 p.m. (1 hour after the meeting.) No one was even using these spaces. Who are these spaces reserved for? Certainly not the residents that live there because it is a daytime permit parking zone that ends at 7:00 p.m.

    There is a certain irony in transportaion debacles being the reason one misses a Transportation meeting.

  8. Did anyone notice in today's paper that the Transportation Department is building new pedestrian "underbridges" downtown along the river for the tourists? They don't want people to have to walk up the stairs from the riverfront walk to cross Michigan Avenue and Wabash, so they are building bumpout under the bridges for pedestrians.

    How nice for them. One would think that's the type of project that could wait until 2010.

  9. "There were...maybe five residents."

    With all due respect, I have to say that I am probably not alone in being shocked to hear about the turnout. I live in the 48th ward but I made an effort to go to the Truman parking meeting out of solidarinosc. I do that as much as I can. Where was everyone tonight??? I couldn't make it to this meeting because it would have required me to either hire a babysitter or schlep a toddler through the rain, deal with the parking and deal with an active kid at the meeting. We all have reasons why we didn't make the meeting, but there have to be some of us who read this blog who didn't go but could have. 'nuff said.

    Now, I assume that they will feel that people don't really care much about the condition of the bridges and how long we will have to wait to get them fixed. I suppose that this community needs to engage in a letter writing campaign to Springfield to make sure that the money gets appropriated without delay.

    BTW, I heard on Chicago Public Radio that the bump-out project will cost (ironically) $10 million dollars and it will come from TIFs that are expiring this year.

  10. I had two other events to squeeze in last night and the weather probably didn't help with attendance for others.

    Was any input asked from the attendees? If it was information only, perhaps it could also be posted on a website.

  11. I, too, had another event that started at 7:00.

    It's almost funny that the events are being stacked up at the same times, especially since we've been begging for community input.

    Thanks to those who did go and who did tell us about it here.

  12. Anon 2:57,

    We really appreciate your support, especially from outside the ward.

    I guess the situation for many of us in our ward has become which fight to fight. Shootings, gangs, Labor Ready, Wilson Yard, viaducts, etc, etc. This ward, well to put it simply . . . is a mess. A lot of us spent our weekends attending the Sunnyside Mall meet and greet, followed up by neighborhood watch training, that was most of my Saturday. So to imply that we don't care would be wrong, there's just a ton of pressing issues around here. Personally, the viaducts fall fairly low on my list.

  13. What if uptown update incorporated some kind of signup sheet so we knew what events would be well represented and what events might need some people to make a special effort? People could just make a comment on a post if the will attend a function. It might require people actually signing in to give it some validity.

  14. It's awesome that UU gives us a schedule of important events such as the viaduct meeting. We really do need to find a way to make sure people attend these things, and I include myself in that discussion. I don't get home till at least 7 so it's hard for me. I don't mean that as an excuse. There must be some way to ensure we, as a community, make it a priority to attend these things. As some one else said, they stack the meetings so they can at least claim "community input." We need to make sure there is real input.

  15. Knock it off. The bickering amongst neighbors is odd. If you could make, you made it. If you couldn't, you couldn't... it doesn't mean ple don't care.

    I went to the meeting last night and the one thing that struck me was that the officials there rated the bridge structure evaluation as a "4" our of 10 rating scale. That's what struck me. Doesn't that seem significantly unsafe? They also advised that a bridge considered "not safe" would be a "2" or "3".... Also, if it got to a "2", they'd have to close it down (partially or completely depending on the situation).

    Additionally, MSN had an article not long ago about Bridge Structure Evaluation in the US and you can check your local bridges for safety. or specifically This last link shows both Lawrence and Wilson are "structurally deficient" and were last inspected in Aug of 2008. Seems like waiting until 2010 doesn't make any sense.. but hey, i'm a realist.

    Thank god that the resurfacing is going to get done. It sounds like local officials worked hard to get that addressed as soon as they could.

  16. I didn't mean to emphasize that there were only 5 residents there I just wanted to provide data on the numbers of people that attended. The important thing is that some of us were there and able to provide a report back to the group.

  17. Yes, let's not rail on people. This was the 5th community meeting scheduled within the past 3 days.

    The others meeting were crime related and proactive. This meeting was informative, and involves funding issues out of our control.

    I tried to be there too. Perhaps these meetings should be scheduled with the block clubs and community, not the alderman.

  18. Chris K-

    Wasn't actually referring to your note on your update last night on the meeting and nobody being there. just responding to the general tone of folks on this chain. didn't want you to think i was directing it at you.

  19. So, were there any handouts to have posted on this site?

  20. I like how "experts" are able to analyze the validity of the structure of a bridge. They can "look" at it and see that it is "unsafe" or "in violation" (without a doubt!) and should be rated a 2.

    Also, interesting that the bridges of a major road that affects the functionality of the entire city can be held up by a local alderperson, despite the fact that the road in question is a federal highway (though run and maintained by the city). On a similar note, the alderperson of the OHare district is responsible for the expansion of that airport, right? At least a little bit. I bet they should be fined for holding up the expansion!! It's in their district, right?

    Come on people, use a bit of common sense once in a while.

  21. What is your beef, 9:31? No one here is saying that they are an expert on bridge maintenance. They are citing public records submitted by true bridge experts who have said that the bridges are "structurally deficient." Someone who attended the meeting was skeptical of how clear the distinction between a "4" and a "3" really is. I think that is a legitimate question. Other people with construction backgrounds look at the exposed and rusted steel beams and compare those conditions to what is expected of commercial buildings and remark that if those are considered unsafe there the same criteria should apply to a bridge.

    You do make a somewhat decent point about how much Shiller has been slapped around on this one. She is not the only elected public official who should have been crying out for a response to these conditions. Our state reps/senators and congressional reps/senators should have been vocal about this too. Helen may have gotten an unfair proportion of the blame here but there is no excuse for the lack of "official" outcry on this issue. If Helen Shiller had been front-and-center on this issue no doubt things might have progressed along faster. We haven't had a proverbial squeaky wheel on this issue.

  22. Maybe Shiller has gotten too much of the blame. Maybe not?

    But who is the one political person that is supposed to run the day-to-day operations of the ward? Helen Shiller. She is the one who could have gotten the ball rolling a long time ago.

    Her inaction on just about everything will lead most of us to take a jab at her whenever possible. Right or wrong that's the way it goes.

    Shiller takes a jab at condo-owners when-ever she has the chance. Like the remember to pick up your dog poop posting on her web page. Forget about the remember to throw out your trash, remember not to shoot each other, remember not to sell drugs, remember to have your kids in at curfew, etc, etc, etc.

    There's really just a lack of concern with what is truly important with our alderman and we will continue to call her out even if she is just a little resposible. That's what happens when you become a public official. Too bad so sad.

  23. Anonymous 9:31, I think the purpose of having an alderman as the Ward's political representative is that she engage in politics. That means intergovernmental affairs with other legistlators at the city, state, and federal level.

    After all, she knows exactly how to do it when she seeks Federal Project Section 8 HUD developments, Illinois Dept of Housing Loans, Chicago Housing Authority shelters, and so forth.

    Why should we expect any less intergovernmental action from this Alderbeast when it comes to Ward infrastructure improvements?