Do Away with Lot K

June 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm

Lot K, or the "Green Lot", near Wrigley Field.

Lot K, or the “Green Lot”, near Wrigley Field.

Cubs-owned parking lot K, situated just two blocks north of Wrigley Field, is a relatively large waste of valuable space. Sitting unoccupied most of the year, the lot is reserved for season passholders at many games. When there’s no game, the lot will sit empty. If the lot were full for 7 hours on a game day, it would only be utilized about 6% of the year.

This is typical for a lot of parking spaces, which sit empty for most hours of the day and have an enormous opportunity cost. What else could go in Lot K?

Thankfully, it won’t be a parking garage with over 500 spaces, as was planned with other Wrigley developments. Perhaps this is thanks to a Change.org petition that received over 230 signatures (and more that went around on paper passed out by community members), or just general common sense that dumping more parking capacity into a dense neighborhood is unnecessary. Without building a new garage, the

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It could be a residential development, but the lot (3.6 acres in size) would be a bit “superblock” sized for one development. It could also be a park. There are not a lot of parks in this part of the neighborhood, unless you count Kelly Park, which isn’t really a park; it’s more of a pathway with some grass and benches. There’s always the Lakefront path, accessible by a tunnel, or other “parks” that are pinky-sized in comparison to what a real urban park should be.

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Kelly Park. Credit: Shaun Jacobsen.

A park would also function well on residential Grace St and is bordered by a cemetery, making it quiet, unlike other large parks on the north side that are adjacent to busier streets such as Clark, Ashland, Western, or Wilson. Given its proximity to Wrigley, a park could become a destination in its own right: A place to picnic before a game, relax afterward, and a larger park for area residents all the time.

Removing parking might be negative in the short-term, but definitely not in the long-term, although I don’t anticipate the Cubs giving it up unless something worth more can be built. And when it comes to parking lots, something more valuable can almost always be put in its place. And if parking were really, really necessary (it isn’t!), the Cubs could look into sharing the enormous, underused parking garage at Truman College, which is just a 28 minute walk from Wrigley Field and could have been easily accessible by a free shuttle bus.

I don't know when this photo was captured, but the entire top level deck of this parking garage is empty. Credit: Google.

I don’t know when this photo was captured, but the entire top level deck of this parking garage is empty. Notice how the garage has a larger footprint and is taller than the building it serves (Truman College). Credit: Google.

The lot is currently zoned “PD” for a planned development, but other than the defeated parking garage, I have heard of no plans for development on the land.

The entrance to Lot K reminds me of...

The entrance to Lot K reminds me of…

…the entrance to a park in Paris, just in need of a little TLC. Credit: Landscape Lover.

If it were up to you, what would you want to see put in the place of Lot K?