Close to $8 million dollars in Clark-Montrose TIF funds are expiring this year and need to be spent to improve the district before they expire or are lost to the City's general fund.
The Crossroads group solicited public comment and received input from local residents before issuing their draft report a couple of weeks ago. Our inbox has been busy along the way, with emails from multiple readers up and down the Clark Street corridor. The recent draft report brought a lot of those discussions to a head.
The biggest concern? Parking.
The draft report (which is a recommendation only) proposes eliminating parking from one side of Clark Street from Montrose all the way to Foster in favor of a protected bike lane. Needless to say, this hasn't been popular with people who want the corridor to flourish.
Clark Street Crossroads Draft / Chicago DPD
With the permission of the readers, here's a sampling of what we have heard:
Reader TM says "87% of [Clark survey] respondents wanted restaurants and 70+% wanted entertainment and retail. I have lived here since 2005 and want nothing more than more business on that stretch. [Crossroads' plan] is a joke if they want businesses to open."
Reader SA writes "The whole thing seems to be a waste of money. Just look at the money dumped into Lawrence. Nothing good came from that, and when has spending money on community signs been a good investment? Plus all that consultant money went to waste for something I could do myself."
Reader JR says "Are they insane? No way that commercial stretch from Argyle to Foster survives without parking."
Reader CS says "[I]f I were a restaurant or bar owner I would never open in those new spaces on [the 4500 Block of] Clark with no parking."
Reader LN says "What a joke. A huge waste of City money and nothing they propose will get built. If things get built and we thank god get businesses to open, the people won't park on Clark but park on side streets. Ridiculous for residents."
Reader EJ writes "The loudest mouths are going to drive this process. No one cares to participate. I'm a biker but getting rid of an entire lane of parking on a narrow street makes no sense. Broadway, absolutely. Clark no."
So what do you think?
If you have feedback, you can always write us, but you can also take a survey here and be sure to register for a virtual meeting on January 31 at 5PM to discuss your feelings on the plans.