Wrigleyville development to add 500 parking spaces to neighborhood

August 15, 2013 at 5:49 pm

For months, the Chicago media has been covering the renovations to Wrigley Field and the surrounding area, which was finally approved by City Council. A 500-space parking garage that was planned to be added near Wrigley was scrapped in April after an online petition and community backlash prompted its demise, and will no longer be built.

While the Cubs won’t be building their parking garage, a nearby developer will be.

Addison Park on Clark rendering. Image: M&R Development.

Addison Park on Clark is a proposed development that has changed its plans a few times now – once a hotel, then a 170-apartment development, and now a 150-apartment development with retail space – and a 500-space parking garage.

According to the Q&A on the development’s website, the development will not negatively affect traffic in the area, and “there’s no way around Cubs game-day congestion.” The development is touted as a “prime example of transit-oriented development,” being just “steps away” from two bus routes and the Red line station at Addison.

Feel free to correct me, but transit-oriented development usually doesn’t come with space for 500 cars. The developer is wrong with its assertions; there are ways to reduce Cubs game-day congestion. Promote the use of public transportation, restrict automobile traffic to make way for public transportation, and encourage bike transportation (now easier with Divvy). Adding a parking garage, despite the developer’s claim that it will “reduce street parking,” will not reduce traffic. It will increase it.

With 150 dwelling units and 170,000 square feet of retail, that means the minimum parking requirement for zone B1-5* is 545 spaces. The development is within 600 feet of a CTA station, meaning the requirement can be halved to 273 spaces.

The current site is dismal, part of it a surface parking lot. But the new development will only add more parking. Image: Google.

The current site is dismal, part of it a surface parking lot. But the new development will only add more parking. Image: Google.

273 spaces is still far too many for a dense urban neighborhood like Lakeview. The nature of the development is walkable by design – storefronts at the sidewalk, apartments above – so why is the developer planning to add so much parking? Further challenging the need for parking, the street-level retail may mostly be bars, restaurants, and a fitness club, according to the developer.

There are several examples of excess parking capacity in the neighborhoods surrounding Lakeview. The underground garage for Target at Wilson Yards (Broadway and Sunnyside) is very large and the underground parking garage is rarely full. A few hundred feet away stands the 1,100-space Truman College parking garage, opened in 2011. It, too, is rarely full. A developer plans to build a condo development at the site of former Cuneo hospital (using TIF funds) in Uptown, which will include 700 parking spaces. (A petition is available to oppose this project.)

Mayor Emanuel likes to tout Chicago as a global city, but it’s hard to tell how well we compete on the global stage when cities outside North America are committed to reducing their parking supply and we’re increasing ours. Increasing the supply of parking only induces traffic and is a step in the wrong direction when people are traveling by car less frequently. Lakeview is a walkable, very vibrant neighborhood. Don’t choke its streets with more auto traffic.

*At the time I could not find the proper zoning this development will have. Previous reports stated the development would be rezoned to B1-5, but referenced the former hotel project. Please correct me if my zoning calculations are wrong.

Update: 25 October 2013: A petition has been created to oppose the new parking garage. Please sign it!