Friday, May 3, 2013

An Appeal For The Creation Of SherMon Plaza

Sheridan/Montrose/Broadway intersection
in 1936 (click to enlarge)
There's one day left for residents of the 46th Ward to vote on how to spend the Ward's infrastructure money.  Come on over to Uplift High School, 900 W Wilson, on Saturday between 10am and 2pm, to cast your vote.  All ward residents age 16 and up are eligible to vote (bring ID with your address on it).  A sample ballot is here.

Uptown Update asked people who felt passionately about any of the proposals to make their case to their fellow voters.  Today Gene Tenner talks about why he supports #8: SherMon Plaza.

I ask that you vote for SherMon plaza (#8 on the ballot) to increase safety, provide more open space and use city tax dollars more efficiently.  I helped organize this critical project and can speak directly to how important it is to fix this dangerous intersection and improve our ward.  You can learn all the details on the project at

Why should I vote for SherMon Plaza (#8 on the ballot)?

SherMon Plaza” (#8 on the ballot) will improve safety and traffic conditions for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians alike in the difficult Sheridan / Broadway / Montrose intersection. The project will also create an open mini-park in our ward.

View a PowerPoint presentation on SherMon Plaza here.

For the past 100 years, Broadway has been a problem where it intersects Sheridan and Montrose, one of the most accident prone intersections in the city.

Pedestrian safety is a concern -- crossing lanes are too long and poorly marked, which puts pedestrians in the streets for too long. Bicycle lanes are nonexistent and cyclists face bewildering choices. For cars, turning lanes are poorly marked or absent, traveling straight through is confusing and turning is even worse.

So, the SherMon Plaza is a proposal to stop a century of danger, calm the intersection, decrease accidents, lower road rage, increase safety for buses, cars, pedestrians and bicyclists, create more open space and improve the local business district with increased foot traffic.

And, in the process the 46th Ward can create a new people plaza for residents to relax, read, grab a snack or enjoy a coffee. It can also become the 46th Ward’s welcoming park and become a great symbol of our community.

SherMon Plaza is loaded with benefits for the entire community, as almost everyone uses this intersection at some point: The intersection calms down, accidents decrease, road rage lowers, there is increased safety for buses, cars, pedestrians and bicyclists, more open space is created and the ward will have a great space for residents to gather and visitors to see. 

SherMon Plaza increases foot traffic to the area, increases retail sales by retaining resident dollars, gains new spending from visitors and becomes an additional economic engine to attract new businesses. This safer area requires less in emergency services which saves the city money and deploys services where they are needed more. And, the 46th ward gets a new park and events venue.

For more information contact me at / 773-231-7731.


  1. If this happens I'll move. When Montrose was closed for a month last May/June cars turned onto Hazel and then Cullom even though that was not the detour. Traffic backed up the entire block (Cullom is a one-way with parking on both sides and no alleys). With no way to get off the street until cars could turn a block ahead at the stop sign all we heard was honking horns, people screaming out their windows and several getting out of their cars and getting into fights. THAT is what this will do to the Hazel/Cullom area - what about the other streets just like ours all around the perimeter of this? So by saying that you really improve anything think about the other impacts this will have all around the area where drivers will be looking for new shortcuts down residential streets not equipped for that traffic. None on this has been thought out or addressed. I'd love an explanation though. Everything here only hurts the people who live on the side streets around it that will ultimately be the ones affected.

  2. I just watched the PP presentation and maybe I'm missing something, but how can cutting off Sheridan Rd at Montrose do anything but create more confusion and frustration for motorists? The sharp Z curve required to navigate through is going to result in massive congestion, which would seem to contribute to more road rage, not less. I think adding some turn arrows to the Broadway/Sheridan intersection would be a better and more cost effective solution.

  3. I think this plan is a disaster and encourage you to vote against it. 1st the name is horrible, but 2nd and more importantly it is going to create a traffic nightmare... I'm trying to imagine the reticulated 151 making an "S" turn to negotiate this park and Montrose already backs up all the way from the park creating horrible traffic jams. 3rd, the bums that hang out behind 4350 Broadway (Buena Pointe) building drinking will now have a comfortable greenspace to do so. The claims in the proposal for this park are ridiculous... bordering on complete BS, for example: "increases retail sales by retaining resident dollars, gains new spending from visitors and becomes an additional economic engine to attract new businesses." Not to mention it's one of the most horrible locations for a park ever. Keep in mind I've lived in Buena Park for 17 years and directly adjacent to this intersection for 10 (I can see the entire intersection from my windows and have drove through it thousands of times) -- the issues with this intersection are inflated -- I've rarely witnessed an accident here of any kind.

    Shermon and most of these proposals are ridiculous ideas from the bicycle radicals -- bike rack sculptures, the traffic calming on Leland. I think a lot of these problems would probably be solved and cyclist safety improved if cyclists would start obeying traffic laws -- e.g. rarely does a cyclist obey traffic signals yet they complain about cars doing rolling stops. Finally, I strongly feel the Sheridan/Montrose/Broadway intersection could be more easily and less expensively solved with improved signage and lighting.

    A final note on the Leland proposal -- there are higher priority stops than along this street. I walked around and noticed rolling stops at Wilson / Kenmore (by a school), Clarendon / Junior Tr. (by a school) and Magnolia / Wilson -- all busier intersections. This is an enforcement issue more than anything.

    Lastly, I'd like to thank the 46th Ward Democratic Organization for violating the confidentiality of their constituents and giving our contact information to the radical promoting Shermon Plaza -- Greg Tenner, obviously a relative of Sean Tenner of the Democratic Ward Organization.

  4. I'm sorry that these very persuasive posts about the Leland and SherMon Plaza were not posted earlier. I'm sure there are better ways to organize traffic in Chicago (which is already a nightmare) than to add more speedbumps and bike lanes in a city which "enjoys" a six month winter. I'm sure that ticketing those who blow the stop signs would bring in some needed revenue.

  5. I'm no expert on traffic planning, but it's clear to me the proponents of this are overselling the benefits. The opponents are also downplaying the number of accidents there. It seems to be a fairly frequent occurrence there that cars end up on the sidewalk on the NW corner of Montrose/Broadway. I can visualize the photos in various UU posts over the years.

    It reminds me that everything you need to know about life can be found in the movie "Caddyshack". The proponents seem to be channeling their inner Rodney Dangerfield.

    The opponents are channeling their inner "Glum" from the old cartoon "Gulliver's Travels". "We're doomed!"

    There's a science to traffic planning and calming and it would be nice if an expert with no ties to anyone would weigh in on this. Right now the "radical" biking activists and the "radical" nimbys seem to be battling each other for the right to be wrong.

    My limited knowledge of traffic planning is that sometimes things that seem intuitive and logical aren't. I've read about and seen traffic calming solutions in Europe that seem like they couldn't work, yet they do.

    What would happen here over time if this is put into place is that people will adjust their driving habits. They will get off at Irving or Wilson and utilize a slightly different route or adjust the times they travel a bit.

    Yes, traffic would still be screwed up on weekends in the summer, but that's the price we pay for living next to the best lakefront parks in the city. Unless, and some people have suggested this in the past, you want to ban people from outside the ward from using OUR parks. We live in a crowded urban neighborhood. There's going to be a level of hassle and inconvenience because of that density. We should REASONABLY try to limit those hassles, but they ain't completely going away.

    Idiots! Idiots to the right of me. Idiots to the left of me. Idiots in front of me. Into the Shermon Plaza boldy walked/drove/biked the Uptown multitudes. I'm going to stop now before the ghost of Tennyson hunts me down in my alcohol induced slumber.


    Shermon Plaza is a STUPID STUPID name. That's not a reason to oppose the plan, but that name needs to disappear like George W Bush from the GOP convention.

    If this plan comes to fruition I hope it works. If not then adjustments can me made later.

  6. They should call it Charlie Chapline Plaza and have a statue of the Little Tramp standing in the middle.

  7. @ChicagoChristopher...I was wondering how I ended up on an auto-dialer, promoting this horrible idea!