Saturday, March 16, 2013

"Make No Small Plans" : Rahm's Vision For Uptown

Future People Plaza?
In an interview with the Sun-Times today, Mayor Emanuel lays out the city's hopes and dreams for seven areas of the city "brimming with either development or promise," including the long-talked-about Uptown Music District.  The entire plan is grandiose and imagination-stretching, and we'd love to see it happen.  The entire article is here, and is recommended reading.  Here's the Uptown portion:

UPTOWN: Emanuel has talked about creating an Uptown Music District akin to the downtown theater district to synergize the area’s musical treasures: the Green Mill, the Aragon Ballroom, the Riviera and the Uptown Theater.

With the CTA rebuilding the Wilson Station, the city’s plan calls for using signage, gateway identifiers and streetscaping along large stretches of Broadway and Lawrence to create a “distinctive” environment.

It also calls for creating a “people plaza” at Broadway and Racine, a “people street” on Clifton that could be shut down for musical performances and use parking garage at Truman College to lure music fans.

“It’s about making it easier for people to get from one [music venue] to the other in the evening safely [and] parking. How do we take advantage of the public transportation renovation at Wilson and connect that with the parking that’s available at Truman College?” [Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Michelle] Boone said.

“There’s limited parking. It’s not very accessible via public transportation. People don’t feel safe. But, the bones of the infrastructure for what you need to make it an entertainment district are there. You have the music venues."


  1. Harry Truman once said that the Marine Corps had a bigger PR operation than the Kremlin.

    Rahmbo likes his PR more than Uncle Joe Stalin liked a good famine. Rahm's seemingly more interested in looking good than doing good.

    I doubt he has the skill or money to make his citywide vision come true. Perhaps he'll prove me wrong and wag his 4.5 fingered hand in my face. I look forward to it and to being wrong, if he does manage to pull this off.

    The Uptown portion of his plans would be the easiest part. The infrastructure is all here in one form or another. Between the Truman garage, the AON garage and the parking available at the lakefront there's plenty of parking available relatively close.

    You line the street between the concert venue and the parking with cops and security guards and perhaps run shuttle buses to the lakefront if necessary.

    It's also time for JAM, which owns the UPTOWN Theater, to have a "come to Rahmus" meeting with our shy, modest "mare". I suggest "da mare" head over to the Music Box Theater this week to see the movie "Koch". "Koch" is a documentary on another shy modest "mare" from some city out east. I've seen the preview and it looks good. Rahm seems to purposefully emulate some aspects of Koch's demeanor. "How am I doin?", comes to mind.

    When Sears planned to move their HQ from the west side to the burbs in the late 60's the first "Mare Daley", may his memory light our way for a thousand thousand years, basically told the chairman of Sears that "you have a lot of stores in Chicago..I have a lot of building inspectors." The Sears Tower was the consequence of that little "come to Daleyus" meeting.

    Rahmbo needs to sit down with the JAM owners and have a similar discussion. He can offer the carrot and the stick. The carrot being a nice rezoning of their property at Belmont and Sheffield for apartments or condos with an addition above and the stick being building inspectors actually inspecting buildings and holding them to the letter of the various building and safety codes.

    "Oooh, look a mouse dropping. Sorry, we have to close your venue mere hours before your sold out shows with the Rolling Stones, the Grateful Dead with a reincarnated Jerry Garcia, and the Elvis was only pretending to be dead Blue Suede Shoes tour."

    Also if Rahmbo is serious about improving Uptown he damn well better support Cappleman's plans to improve the ward. It's unusual to have an alderman who actually is somewhat comfortable with telling people things they don't want to hear. It's actually "Kochian" in a way.

    Let's say Mark Brown is right and the city is going to back down in the face of threats from the "Sargent Shriver" center and various other parts of the PIMP(Poverty Industrial Maintenance Protectorate). If so Rahm's plans will have the same lasting impact as a fart in a hurricane.

    Will Rahmbo stand against the architects of ruin?

    Will Rahmbo stand against the enablers of anarchy?

    Will Rahmbo stand against the purveyors of despair?

    Tune in next week, next month, next year, and next mayoral term to find out.

    We'll soon find out if Rahmbo is more Koch than Dinkins. More Harold Washington than Eugene Sawyer.

    Will he make footprints on the sands of time or farts in a hurricane forgotten in some dimly remembered press release? Gawd, I love writing long annoying posts and making somewhat obscure literary allusions.

    Time for a Guinness! Ok, another Guinness.

  2. I totally disagree with your comment about the Uptown needs to be torn down, not a new structure in its place.

  3. On this St. Pat's Day I can think of only one response to the suggestion that the Uptown Theater be torn down.

    Here it is.

    In Irish.


  4. Hopefully somewhere in this grand plan there is a worthy traffic management plan. The CF of traffic connected to this past Saturday's concert at the Aragon was atrocious! No traffic management (or 'mis-management') whatsover. It took me as long to get to my home at Leland and Clarendon as the drive back into the city from Northbrook. And that was even with completely avoiding Lawrence Ave altogether.