Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
1
A future for the ...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
2
About this docume...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
3
Summary
Chicago’s...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
4
Key recommendatio...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
5
Land use assessme...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
6
Development activ...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
7
Data from the Cit...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
8
As the following ...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
9
Transportation ac...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
10
West Central Ass...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
11
Business activit...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
12
Zoning policy
Th...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
13
Of the land outs...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
14
Data from the Ci...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
15
In addition, the...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
16
Potential for ad...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
17
Examining land w...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
18
Implications of ...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
19
Recommendations ...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
20
o Making it poss...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
21
o Buses are sped...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
22
Parking assessme...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
23
The conventional...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
24
On-street parkin...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
25
Issues
Most on-s...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
26
 Loading and st...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
27
Recommendations
...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
28
City Council pas...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
29
Strategically pl...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
30
Adding Sundays
3...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
31
for taxpayers. T...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
32
so that there ar...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
33
A standing zone ...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
34
Consolidating lo...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
35
5. Increased par...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
36
Conclusion
The s...
A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association
37
Loading Zones: N...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×

A Future for the Near West Side

657 views

Published on

Metropolitan Planning Council land use & parking study in the West Central Association service area

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

A Future for the Near West Side

  1. 1. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 1 A future for the Near West Side Report on land use and parking in the West Central Association service area July 2016 Metropolitan Planning Council
  2. 2. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 2 About this document This study was primarily written by Yonah Freemark and Chrissy Mancini Nichols of the Metropolitan Planning Council. The report’s completion was assisted by Peter Skosey and Benton Dosky, as well as representatives of the West Central Association. Table of contents Summary ............................................................................................................................................................................................. 3 Key recommendations and findings ..................................................................................................................................................... 4 Land use assessment .......................................................................................................................................................................... 5 Vital statistics and demographic change........................................................................................................................................... 5 Development activity ........................................................................................................................................................................ 6 Transportation access ...................................................................................................................................................................... 9 West Central Association’s growing contribution to the city’s property taxes .................................................................................. 10 Business activity............................................................................................................................................................................. 11 Zoning policy .................................................................................................................................................................................. 12 Potential for additional growth ........................................................................................................................................................ 16 Implications of new growth in the WCA area................................................................................................................................... 18 Recommendations for development in the WCA area .................................................................................................................... 19 Parking assessment........................................................................................................................................................................... 22 Introduction .................................................................................................................................................................................... 22 Issues............................................................................................................................................................................................. 25 Recommendations.......................................................................................................................................................................... 27 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 36 Parking case studies ...................................................................................................................................................................... 36
  3. 3. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 3 Summary Chicago’s Near West Side is widely recognized for its diverse residents, vibrant local businesses, restaurants, culture, nightlife, and engaged community organizations. The area’s prime location, with easy access via various modes of transportation and great pedestrian environment, make it a prosperous and desirable area in which to live and visit. Over the past two decades, the West Central Association (WCA) district, which extends past the West Loop and into Little Italy, the Illinois Medical District and the Near West Side, has become one of the most desirable in the whole city of Chicago. It is one of the few parts of the city that has grown in population, and it is the site of dozens of new construction projects. Yet its best years remain ahead of it, and the WCA is ushering the neighborhood forward. The Near West Side has been a powerhouse for Chicago’s growth, its new construction adding to the city’s tax base, population, and employment. This study is intended to offer key information about current conditions in the community from the perspective of land use and parking, and to offer recommendations about how to move the neighborhood forward in the coming years. The continued growth of the Near West Side is vital for the future of Chicago, and public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders must identify the regulatory and financial conditions to make that growth possible. In this document, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) conducted an in-depth analysis of the WCA service area. As shown on the following map, while the land use analysis considered the whole service area (shown in green), particular attention was focused on the zone of most intense development (shown in blue), bordered by the Eisenhower Expressway to the south, the Kennedy Expressway to the east, the railroad corridor adjacent to Kinzie on the north, and Ogden and Ashland Avenues to the west. This area, which surrounds the Morgan Station on the Chicago Transit Authority Green and Pink Lines, is where some of the city’s most dramatic new development is occurring and where opportunities are greatest to encourage more development.
  4. 4. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 4 Key recommendations and findings Building a denser, more vibrant Near West Side is key to Chicago’s future  Chicago’s Near West Side has been a vital source of tax revenues and population for the municipality, and played an important role in offsetting population losses elsewhere in the city.  New growth should be encouraged in the neighborhood to bring more residents and jobs to this district not only for the benefit of the city’s overall growth, but also for the sake of supporting the tremendous concentration of retail activity that has sprouted up in the neighborhood, which needs more weekday, routine traffic to supplement weekend growth.  Developers in the neighborhood should be confident that they can rely on the underlying zoning in the neighborhood to plan and invest in new projects. Developers should have confidence from local elected officials that their planned investments at significant new densities will be supported. Identify ways to expand  The West Loop has been the focus of development, but the city can benefit from spreading that growth west. Neighborhoods closer to Garfield Park suffer from high levels of poverty, disinvestment, and vacancy that must be countered through a direct effort to extend the success of the WCA’s core area.  The city and neighborhood should focus resources on making Ogden Avenue a key corridor that connects the West Loop’s Randolph Street retail center with United Center, Malcolm X College, and the Illinois Medical District. Improve access to the neighborhood  Bus service to the West Loop should be better marketed. The Madison #20 bus, which runs on Loop Link, should clearly indicate that it connects to the West Loop entertainment district and stops in the area should have better wayfinding.  New infill stations should be evaluated on the CTA Green and Pink Lines, in order to improve access to transit on the west side of the WCA service area, and on the Metra corridor, in order to improve links between the district and the suburbs. Update parking policies to reflect demand  Parking in the neighborhood is underpriced, which worsens the parking situation for neighborhood retailers and which makes searching for parking too difficult for prospective shoppers.  The Near West Side should expand the number of metered parking spaces and improve the use of loading zones in order to free up capacity for parkers, attract more local business, and reduce wasted space on the street.  Performance pricing should be explored to vary parking prices based on demand by time of day and day of week.
  5. 5. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 5 Land use assessment Vital statistics and demographic change The Near West Side, the community area that encompasses the service area of the WCA, has soared in population in recent years. Between 2000 and 2010, the neighborhood was one of just 18 city of Chicago community areas (out of 77) that saw an increase in its resident population, growing from 46,419 to 54,881 people over that period. And its growth rate—18.2 percent and 8,462 new people over that period—was stronger than all but the Loop and the Near South Side, which, unlike the Near West Side, had very few inhabitants just 20 years ago.1 The number of households in the area increased even more dramatically, growing 44.7 percent over this time period, much the result of the construction of 7,335 housing units in the neighborhood over the decade. Given the opening of several major projects since 2010, the area has likely continued to increase in population over the past six years. The area’s population change has been headlined by changing demographics. In a period in which the city’s overall median household incomes barely budged, median household incomes in the Near West Side increased by 43.6 percent between 2000 and 2010, rising to $62,826. The combination of growth in population and growth in the median income of households living in the area suggests that the neighborhood is in very high demand. The neighborhood is a focus for jobs. 2014 data show that the neighborhood as a whole has about 93,000 jobs, with a majority working in either health care or educational fields—a reflection of the importance of the Illinois Medical District and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The district has gained 20,000 jobs since 2002. The focus area has 20,000 jobs itself, though this figure has not increased significantly since 2002. From the perspective of the city of Chicago as a whole, the Near West Side and the WCA service area more specifically represent key focal areas for growth. These places continue to have significant market demand to attract more residents who, in turn, will offer new tax dollars to fund our public services and new discretionary spending to support local retail and restaurant establishments. One major goal of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency’s long-term regional plan is to attract more people to live and work in in-city neighborhoods that offer convenient access to transit and other amenities. To support that goal, the Near West Side is a key location to orient additional growth. 1 Data from the Chicago Rehab Network’s analysis of U.S. Census data. Available online at http://www.chicagorehab.org/resources/docs/fact_books/2013_ca_fact_sheets/near_west_side.pdf. Chicago community areas that grew from 2000 to 2010 were Archer Heights (5.9% increase in population); Armour Square (11.3%); Ashburn (3.8%); Belmont Cragin (0.8%); Brighton Park (1.0%); Clearing (3.6%); Forest Glen (1.9%); Gage Park (1.8%); Loop (78.7%); Montclare (6.2%); Mount Greenwood (1.5%); the Near North Side (10.5%); Near South Side (124.9%); Norwood Park (0.2%); O’Hare (7.3%); West Elsdon (13.7%); and West Lawn (14.1%).
  6. 6. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 6 Development activity The WCA district has become one of the most popular areas of Chicago for new investment, and that is reflected clearly in building permits recorded for the area. As the following two charts illustrate, the district has become particularly attractive for developers over the past year. The value of building permits recorded in the WCA district exceeded $1 billion for the first time in 2015 as the total number of permits in the area soared to above 2,000. New construction permits account for only about five percent of the total number, but their value accounts for eighty percent of the total. The WCA’s recent boom, then, is the result of significant investment in new buildings, and that’s made manifest by the sheer number of cranes surrounding construction sites. Data from the City of Chicago. 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Newconstructionpermitsbyyear Totalpermitsbyyear Permit activity in the WCA area by number of permits Total permits New construction permits
  7. 7. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 7 Data from the City of Chicago. 0 200,000,000 400,000,000 600,000,000 800,000,000 1,000,000,000 1,200,000,000 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Permitestimatedvaluebyyear Permit activity in the WCA area by value Total permits New construction permits
  8. 8. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 8 As the following heatmap of building permits in the WCA district shows, the permits have been largely concentrated in the focus area and along the east and west edge of the Kennedy Expressway—the areas of the district closest to downtown. As will be illustrated later in this document, these are also the areas that are currently in downtown zoning districts that allow the most density. In addition, there were significant building permits released for the Illinois Medical District area thanks to the construction of Rush Medical Center’s major new hospital tower. Data from the City of Chicago.
  9. 9. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 9 Transportation access The WCA district has the advantage of being centrally located: It is close to the Loop, it has access to expressways and it features several transit stations. Much of the neighborhood, though, is difficult to access for people who aren’t driving. The completion of the Morgan CTA station in 2012 added an infill station to the Chicago Transit Authority’s Green and Pink Lines in the heart of the WCA. The project has been a catalyst for additional growth in the neighborhood by providing rapid transit access to the district. However, current transit services in the area do not adequately support the workers in the district. Estimates from the U.S. Census suggest that roughly 28,000 people work in the focus area of the WCA. The most common home locations of those workers are Wicker Park, Logan Square, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, and Pilsen—but unfortunately the L service offered at the Morgan station barely connects those neighborhoods. Transit riders who work in the WCA area today can be seen transferring from the Blue Line to the Green Line at Clark and Lake or from the Red Line to the Green Line at State and Lake, but the required transfer between those services reduces the share of workers using transit, increasing congestion in the neighborhood and increasing the demand for parking. The district does feature frequent bus service on the #20 Madison bus, but this service is slow through the area and not well marked. Downtown, this line runs along the recently completed Loop Link, but it is not clear when standing at a station there that it provides service to the West Loop, which is a popular destination. In addition, no east-west bus service is currently provided on Randolph Street, which is closer to the center of activity in the community. Finally, people arriving in the district from the Chicagoland suburbs are forced to take Metra commuter trains all the way to Ogilvie and Union Stations and then back their way out. Several employers and developers interviewed as part of the process of creating this report suggested that this situation made attracting employers more difficult than otherwise. Improving biking conditions must be an element of any plan to improve connections to the area from other parts of the city of Chicago. The district does have a useful east-west biking corridor along Randolph Street and a connection to the north and south via Halsted Street. But missing from the bike network are useful bike lanes on Ashland Avenue, which would help link the neighborhood more comprehensively to the Wicker Park and Logan Square neighborhoods. Parking is also a major concern to people living and working in the district. This issue is discussed in more detail in the second half of this study.
  10. 10. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 10 West Central Association’s growing contribution to the city’s property taxes Between 2010 and 2014, property taxes paid in the WCA service area increased from $88.6 million in total to $108.5 million, a $19.9 million increase. This more than 22 percent increase far outpaced the overall city’s 7 percent increase in property taxes paid. As a result, though the WCA accounts for only about 2 percent of overall property taxes paid in the city of Chicago, the increase over the past five years accounted for more than 6 percent of the total increase. These data demonstrate that the neighborhood’s growth is providing an essential base from which to fund city services. More of this growth is vital for Chicago’s future growth. Data from the Cook County Assessor’s Office. 90% 95% 100% 105% 110% 115% 120% 125% 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Changeintotalpropertytaxpaidfrom2010 WCA area property tax bills rising much more quickly than city's Change in WCA property tax paid Change in citywide property tax paid (outside of WCA)
  11. 11. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 11 Business activity The increase in taxes being paid by property owners in the district is not the only way in which the increasing economic performance of the WCA district can be measured. As the following chart illustrates, the retail environment in the district has expanded almost constantly since 2003. The number of food retail licenses in the area is an indication of the overall performance of the district as a lifestyle location, and since 2003, the number of licenses recorded has risen from about 270 to 430, or a 59 percent increase. The rise in retail food licenses—and the continued increase recorded between 2015 and 2016—is a strong indication of the popularity of the WCA district. The area is attractive to tourists visiting the region and residents throughout the Chicago area, and additional retail will only increase the area’s appeal. The growth in businesses should be supported by policies that allow these businesses to thrive and attract more customers. Without a growing neighborhood employment and residential population, however, local retailers will suffer. While business on weekends continues to grow, stores and restaurants need weekday lunch and dinner traffic to survive—and that requires a growing local population. In order to continue the district’s momentum and reinforce it as one of the region’s prime entertainment destinations, more development in the area is vital. Data from the City of Chicago. 250 300 350 400 450 Jan-03 Jan-04 Jan-05 Jan-06 Jan-07 Jan-08 Jan-09 Jan-10 Jan-11 Jan-12 Jan-13 Jan-14 Jan-15 Jan-16 ActiveretaillicensesintheWCA area Active food retail licenses in WCA area
  12. 12. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 12 Zoning policy The WCA district has a land area of roughly 139 million square feet (3,191 acres) distributed across Chicago’s Near West Side. The focus area surrounding the Morgan CTA station is a bit more than 25 million square feet, or about 18 percent of the district. Of the land in the district as a whole, 35 percent is reserved for transportation or utility rights of way (such as highways or rail lines), leaving 90 million square feet for buildings, parks or other needs. As the following map illustrates, the service area is marked by a significant presence of institutional actors, including the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Illinois Medical District, United Center and the major rail yards on the north and south sides of the district. Data from the City of Chicago.
  13. 13. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 13 Of the land outside of public or private rights of way, more than half of the land is designated either as a Planned Development or Planned Manufacturing District, as the following chart shows. Only about one-fifth of the land is designated as business (B), commercial (C) or downtown (D), significantly limiting the ability to build in the area. Excluding institutional land, such as that owned by the public sector, about 16 million square feet is available for development in B, C and D zoning classes. Data from the City of Chicago. Examining land in terms of what built densities are allowed for new development, the following map illustrates allowed floor area ratios (FAR) for new construction in the service area. For the most part, land east of Halsted is zoned to allow densities of 5 FAR or above. Land in the focus area allows densities of 3 to 5 FAR, and other areas in the district allow densities lower than 3 FAR. 4,122,316 2,509,975 7,819,708 5,750,666 7,413,997 6,797,012 2,832,427 2,178,049 39,615,338 25,770,779 13,787,011 9,801,257 1,573,878 149,928 13,203,337 9,156,026 - 10,000,000 20,000,000 30,000,000 40,000,000 50,000,000 60,000,000 70,000,000 80,000,000 90,000,000 100,000,000 All land Developable land Square footage of land by zoning class in WCA area B C D M PD PMD POS R
  14. 14. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 14 Data from the City of Chicago. The recent adoption by the City of Chicago Council of a downtown zoning change expands the portion of the service area where downtown (D) zoning classes would be used for new development. The proposal would extend the downtown zone west of its current borders to Ogden and Ashland Avenues. FAR of 5 will be allowed for new development along Randolph, Lake, Madison, Racine and Ashland Avenues, with the remainder of the service area being allowed to build up to an FAR of 3, as the following map shows. In order for new developments to take advantage of this zoning change, they will be required to undergo a zoning change process (using the new downtown districts will not be as of right, unlike developments in the current downtown zone). This zoning change process will transfer new buildings into Planned Development zones. During this process, new projects will have to comply with the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (ARO), which mandates that either 10 percent of units in residential projects of more than 10 units be dedicated to affordable housing or that developers provide 2.5 percent of units as affordable and pay the difference as in-lieu fees to the City’s affordable housing fund.
  15. 15. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 15 In addition, the downtown zone expansion will allow new projects throughout the focus area of the WCA district to take advantage of downtown density bonuses. The Mayor’s Office proposal will consolidate the current downtown bonus system by allowing projects to pay a set fee per square foot of additional space in exchange for density increases. Particularly relevant to the WCA district is the decision to allow areas that are currently zoned for industrial uses but near the Morgan CTA station to apply for the downtown zoning class. This is an important change that reflects the value of investing in mixed-use, high-density construction around the transit system. As the neighborhood continues to change, the parcels around the Morgan station can be key sites for redevelopment. Data from the City of Chicago.
  16. 16. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 16 Potential for additional growth Though the WCA district has been the setting for significant investments in new construction over the past two decades, the area retains significant opportunity for new development on land that is currently vacant or serving as surface parking, as the following map shows. Within the focus area, about 900,000 square feet of land is either vacant or surface parking, making it ripe for development, and an additional 9 million square feet of land is either vacant or surface parking outside of the focus area. This land is ideal for new construction as building on these sites will not require the displacement of current users. Data from Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning 2010 land use survey. Note that the map does not represent latest available land transfers and does not represent other types of easily developable land, such as one-story buildings.
  17. 17. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 17 Examining land within the WCA district that can be directly compared, there is potential for new construction in the area on land that is currently vacant or used for surface parking.2 Zoning rules currently allow about 2 million square feet of new construction on underused land in the focus area and almost 7 million square feet outside this area. With the expansion of the downtown zone and the use of the downtown bonus system, these figures could rise to almost 4 million square feet of developable land in the focus area, which is a quantity of built space roughly equivalent to the Willis Tower. Outside of the focus area, new built space on underused land could rise to about 7.5 million square feet. Of course, there is also potential for new development on land currently being occupied by buildings. MPC’s analysis suggests that current zoning rules would allow about 108 million square feet of construction on all land in the district. It should be noted that the Fulton-Randolph Market District, approved by the City in 2015, reduces the development potential in some areas by requiring specific design attributes, even for new construction, and it suggests that the maximum heights of new buildings “shall be compatible with the historic context of the district.” Data from the City of Chicago 2 This analysis was based on the following: 1. Land that is currently being used for transportation rights of way or institutions (such as hospitals or public uses) is not available for development. 2. Land that is currently zoned as a Planned Development or a Planned Manufacturing District cannot be included in the analysis because current constructability on such sites is not based on an FAR-based formula, and a new development on such a site would have to negotiate new zoning rules. 0 2,000,000 4,000,000 6,000,000 8,000,000 Allowed square feet based on current rules Allowed square feet with downtown expansion Allowed square feet with downtown expansion and all bonuses Square feet of potential building projects on underused land based on zoning classes in WCA district In focus area Elsewhere in WCA district
  18. 18. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 18 Implications of new growth in the WCA area MPC’s TOD Calculator provides information about the potential impact of new development on the economy of the WCA district and of the city as a whole. Assuming that new development on underused land would be roughly half residential and half commercial, the Calculator suggests that new construction could have the following impacts, based on whether projects take advantage of the full zoning change and associated bonuses now allowed by the City of Chicago: Benefits to the neighborhood of additional development Based on current zoning Based on downtown zone expansion and full use of bonuses Increase based on new zoning policy Annual local retail sales + $101,000,000 + $128,000,000 +26% 10 years of property tax revenue + $149,000,000 + $188,000,000 10 years of local sales tax revenues + $96,000,000 + $121,000,000 10 years of transfer tax revenues + $32,000,000 + $40,000,000 Jobs + 12,600 + 16,000 Residents + 7,600 + 9,600 The change in property taxes illustrated here given the full build-out of the district’s underused land are equivalent to a 15 to 20 percent increase over current conditions. This increase would lend important support to the city’s need to grow its revenues in the coming years. The above figures do not take into account the larger potential of construction on land that is currently occupied by buildings in the WCA district. As these buildings age, they will become potentially useful sites for new construction and add to the district’s contributions to the overall Chicago economy.
  19. 19. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 19 Recommendations for development in the WCA area The WCA district is one of the city of Chicago’s most important neighborhood assets. The neighborhood’s population and popularity have grown dramatically over the past two decades. It is the site of some of the city’s most important building projects and it contributes mightily to the city’s tax revenues. Its continued health as a vibrant, active neighborhood is vital for the city’s overall success. Though the currently regulatory and fiscal environment is working, more can be done to make the WCA district as successful as possible. The following recommendations point the way toward a more effective district:  Ease the building process Zoning in the WCA district has provided for the construction of new buildings in the area, and the expansion of the downtown zoning district will encourage additional growth. The City’s decision about where to expand the downtown zone corresponds well with the WCA focus area and provides room for additional growth. The expansion of the downtown zone will appropriately supersede lower-density zones in the current area as well as an area between Ogden Avenue, Lake Street, Racine Avenue and Carroll Avenue that is currently zoned for only manufacturing uses. This area is a key site for future neighborhood growth. Even so, there is more to be done to speed development in the area. As demonstrated by recent community conflict over the construction of new residential buildings fronting Mary Bartelme Park, there remains significant disagreement about the value of density in the community. Yet, as noted by the data presented above, new growth is vital to the future of the neighborhood and the growth that has already occurred in the WCA district has been essential for growing the city’s tax base and population in general. This growth must be reinforced for the sake of the city as a whole. It is worth emphasizing that the expansion of the downtown zone will encourage developers in the area to apply for zoning changes through the Planned Development (PD) process in order to maximize their ability to build in the neighborhood. Aldermen and staff of the City of Chicago should work to streamline this process as much as possible. Given the strategic importance of the neighborhood and the fact that projects going through this process will be required to contribute not only to the Affordable Requirements Ordinance (through on-site units and/or in-lieu fees), but also to the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund, the alderman should work with City staff to minimize processing time and, if possible, limit community input in order to prevent delays. The WCA and aldermen who represent the area should focus their efforts on: o Engaging the community to make the case for denser development. o Forcefully supporting the goal of building in the area and finding ways to compromise between the desires of existing residents and the broader city goal of encouraging growth when major building proposals are submitted.
  20. 20. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 20 o Making it possible for developers who buy land in the neighborhood to have the confidence that they can build according to the zoning and be able to move forward without dramatic obstacles. o Examine the potential to amend the rules of the Fulton-Randolph Market District, specifically to eliminate the district’s guidelines for new buildings that maximum heights be “compatible with the historic context of the district”—a regulation that will artificially limit potential construction in the area.  Support growth in the focus area and encourage growing activity to the west of the district The WCA area is one of the city’s most important neighborhoods from the perspective of contributing to the city’s overall growth. A top City priority must be to continue encouraging more density in the district, which contributes mightily to property tax revenues, local retail sales, and population growth. Limiting density—both commercial and residential—will have negative impacts on the region as a whole. In addition, though the WCA district’s focus area has grown significantly over the past two decades, areas to the west, particularly west of Ashland Avenue, are underperforming. These communities are pocketed by abandonment, vacant plots of land and surface parking. The success of the WCA should be extended into this area. Key to this goal is an improved connection between Randolph Street and the United Center and the Illinois Medical District, as well as the recently expanded Malcolm X College campus. Given its important role in making this connection: o Ogden Avenue should be one major focus of investment. As it currently stands, the street is unappealing, unfriendly to pedestrians and lacking any signage designed to improve the experience for pedestrians. o The WCA should work with developers and the alderman to redevelop key sites along this street that are currently parking lots. o Developers building anew along this street should be encouraged to improve the streetscape to make for a continuous, pedestrian-friendly route from the West Loop to the heart of the Illinois Medical District. This could become one of the city’s prime development corridors.  Improve transportation options Improved bus service is the cheapest and fastest way to improve transit service into the district—an important element of any plan to expand upon the significant growth that has occurred in the area. The #20 Madison bus route could be a key mechanism to do so as it links the heart of the Loop with the Near West Side and the United Center. The WCA should work to improve service on this line such that: o CTA should add clear indicators at Loop Link stations that the #20 Madison bus connects to the West Loop. o New wayfinding signage along Madison Street should direct tourists and others unfamiliar with the area to Randolph Street, Greektown and other major destinations in the WCA district.
  21. 21. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 21 o Buses are sped up through transit signal priority and, when possible, dedicated bus lanes, to make the service more effective for people using it. New connections between the WCA area and the Milwaukee Avenue corridor—the area where more of the local employees work than anywhere else—should also be evaluated in the following ways: o A bike lane should be installed along Ashland Avenue to connect to the existing bike corridor on Randolph. o The rerouting of the #56 Milwaukee bus along Halsted and then Washington (to connect to the Loop) should be evaluated in order to provide direct service between Logan Square and the heart of the West Loop. Finally, in order to improve connections between the WCA area and the suburbs, Metra should study the potential addition of a new station along the Milwaukee District North, Milwaukee District West and North Central Service lines somewhere in the WCA focus area. This station could be an important terminus for employees looking to avoid going all the way into downtown, and it could attract tourists and others who do not want to drive into the area.
  22. 22. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 22 Parking assessment Introduction To balance the good that comes from increased traffic with the needs of the neighborhood and local business owners, MPC analyzed the on-street parking supply in the focus area of the WCA district. MPC identified parking issues and opportunities to balance the diverse community needs and support local businesses. Parking is a complex and often contentious issue that affects everyone, even people who get around without personal automobiles. Local businesses want their customers to be able to find spots close to their stores; drivers want a convenient and cheap parking space; local residents don’t want their residential streets lined with parked cars from outside the area; bus riders don’t want to be stuck in traffic behind drivers searching for parking; people who appreciate the walkability of the area don’t want to see giant parking lots or garages. When parking is managed effectively, there are always a few prime spaces available, and drivers with more urgent needs can quickly find a space without circling the block and causing congestion. When parking is not efficiently managed, there may be overcrowding in certain areas, with drivers circling the block while other spaces sit underutilized. Providing an excess of supply without appropriate pricing can entice more people to drive and harm the walkability and character of the area. To satisfy various parking goals, parking strategies should be implemented to maintain an 85 percent occupancy rate. This means about one of every seven spaces is available and a potential customer can easily find a parking space. This is possible to achieve through demand-based pricing that incentivizes long-term parkers, such as people who work in stores or people who are more familiar with the area, to park in less desirable parking spaces. As communities grow, their parking needs and demands also undergo transformations, requiring different types of parking management. Over the last several decades, the types of business in the WCA district have changed along with the habits of their customers, from industrial users to now many people—customers and employees—who come to WCA from locations outside of the area by car for entertainment and nightlife. Well-designed parking policies will ensure the continued health and vibrancy of a neighborhood. If all the prime parking spaces are full all the time, this will frustrate potential customers and visitors, and cause many to give up on their trips to the neighborhood, ultimately hurting businesses. Yet, if there is always a space or two available per block ( 1 out of 7), the needs of most visitors will be satisfied. Parking management strategies can be classified as pricing strategies or non-pricing strategies. Pricing is the most effective method of managing parking demand, but other strategies can be used to target specific parking problems and motivate users to change behaviors.
  23. 23. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 23 The conventional approach to parking is to make it free in order to attract customers. However, free parking entices customers, employees and commuters to drive and leave their cars parked for long periods of time. This strategy can work in communities without a significant amount of commercial activity, or in areas where land is plentiful and cheap. But this approach does not work in walkable and transit accessible neighborhoods where a large number of amenities and activities occupy a small area. The expansive parking in conventional development, like the big-box retail development found along North Avenue in the Near North Side and Lincoln Park, spreads destinations out to a point where a walkable urban district isn’t possible. Needless to say, the WCA neighborhood has more valuable uses for the available vacant land than to build an expansive surface parking lot. Further, each parking space in a structure can cost upwards of $30,000. Getting parking pricing right matters to manage demand for spaces, and reduce traffic congestion and pollution. A parking problem is a good problem to have: It means that people want to come to the community. The main reason to charge the right price for parking is to ration a limited supply of a coveted good—a convenient parking space. When parking is priced too low, demand exceeds supply, causing drivers to circle the block looking for a space. All of these idling cars add up to clogged streets, dirty air and harm the vibrancy of a neighborhood. When demand and supply are balanced, someone choosing to drive will be able to quickly find a spot, while others will park further from the high demand area or move from spaces quickly in order to pay as little as possible, leaving premium spaces available to those willing to pay. As a result, the same number of spaces can serve a greater number of visitors. Some will choose to forgo the parking expense altogether and take transit, walk or ride their bikes instead. These amenities are widely available in WCA and help to reduce overall congestion and offer another means of bringing people to the neighborhood. MPC analyzed the supply and type of on-street parking in the WCA district. The following are findings about parking issues and proposed recommendations.
  24. 24. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 24 On-street parking in the WCA focus area Free parking No parking Restrictions Metered
  25. 25. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 25 Issues Most on-street parking is free. There are about 5,510 on-street parking spaces in the study area and most, 83 percent, are unrestricted and free. Even areas of major activity have free parking, including Fulton Market, Randolph Street and other east-west streets. On streets with many destinations and high retail activity, the free parking is often used not by customers, but rather by residents and employees who park their cars for extended periods of time. This type of free parking is damaging to local businesses whose customers struggle to find a parking spot near their destinations. Free and unrestricted, 4548 Paid on-street (meter), 322 Restricted (standing, loading zones), 400 Permit (residential, industrial, hourly), 240 On-street parking by type Total: 5,510 on-street parking spots
  26. 26. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 26  Loading and standing zones take up valuable customer parking and cause confusion. While only seven percent of spaces are restricted to standing and loading zones, there are some streets, especially busy retail areas, where the majority of blocks are totally restricted to standing and loading zones. These restrictions often vary by parking space, which both takes up valuable customer parking and is confusing for drivers. On Randolph Street between Halsted and Morgan, the lack of consistent parking regulations causes confusion and prohibits customers from parking.  Valet parking. There is a high demand for valet parking in the study area, but valets have limited off-street capacity therefore use free spaces or double park.  Limited paid on-street parking. Only six percent of all on-street parking is paid metered, even in high activity areas. For example, there are no meters on Randolph Street. On Sundays all meters are free due to the 2013 Chicago parking meter concession renegotiation. This allows people to park Saturday night after the meters expire and not have to move their cars until Monday morning, prohibiting customers from using those spaces in the meantime.  Balancing industrial, residential and retail activity. Currently many of the on-street parking spaces on Lake, Fulton, Carroll and Kinzie are industrial permitted or used by industrial activities. Increasingly, industrial uses are turning to retail in the Fulton Market study area. As this occurs the WCA should work with the Chicago Department of Transportation and neighborhood partners to determine proper restrictions to the on-street parking, including adding meters.  Hourly restricted parking. There are several streets around near the Morgan Street CTA station that are limited to one or two-hour parking. This is necessary to prevent day trippers who park and take the train to the Loop. It is unclear if these parking regulations are enforced. One option is to convert these spaces to paid meters to deter drivers who may ignore the time regulation and allow people who want to park to visit nearby businesses from having a one-hour restriction.
  27. 27. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 27 Recommendations 1. Balance parking supply and demand by reinstating paid Sunday meters, adding meters to commercial areas, extending meter hours and implementing performance pricing. Only six percent of on-street parking spaces in the WCA study area are paid metered spots with a two-hour time limit. Because most streets in the area are free, the $2 per hour price may seem extreme and most drivers choose to spend time looking for a free space rather than pay. Or, they may also be looking for a place to park for longer than two hours and the meters don’t allow for that. (That said, if a parker has the Chicago Parking Meters mobile app they can add time without going to their vehicle.) How to work within the Chicago parking meter concession In 2008 the City of Chicago signed a concession of its 36,000 parking meter spaces to Chicago Parking Meters LLC (CPM). CPM agreed to collect revenue from the parking meters for 75 years and in return paid the City a cash fee and updated the individual coin-operated meters to modern machines that offer non-cash alternatives. CPM also maintains and operates the meters throughout the life of the contract. Under the concession, the City retained control of parking regulations, enforcement, fine collection and associated revenues, as well as meter rates and hours of operation, which are so-called “Reserved Powers.” However, the 2008 contract required an increase in hourly parking rates each of the first five years—regardless of occupancy rates—across the city. There are two types of metered parking spaces: reserve and concession. The City retains 85 percent of the revenues from reserve meters (CPM takes an operating expense of 15 percent), and CPM receives all of the revenues from concession meters. Almost all (some 97 percent) of the on-street parking meter spaces in the city are concession, and they are indistinguishable to the user from reserve. Per the agreement, the City may add reserve or concession meters to any non-metered street and can set whatever price the City chooses. 2013 agreement The 2013 agreement changed days and hours of metered parking enforcement. In the 2008 deal, parking remained free from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. at all meters across the city. In the 2013 renegotiation, the City agreed to extend meter hours, from 9 p.m. until 10 p.m. in most areas, and until midnight on the Near North Side. In exchange, the revised deal included free parking on Sundays outside of the central business district--the area north of Roosevelt Road, south of North Avenue and east of Halsted Street. The newly free Sunday parking caused concern in some retail areas, as prime parking spots could be occupied by drivers who park their cars on Saturday evening and leave them until Monday morning for free. Some aldermen requested that Mayor Emanuel reinstate paid parking on Sundays in these retail areas that depend on parking turnover and availability. In April 2014,
  28. 28. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 28 City Council passed such an ordinance, reinstating paid Sunday parking primarily in the 32nd and 44th wards, including select retail corridors in Wicker Park, Bucktown, Lakeview and Wrigleyville. How the system works The deal establishes a hypothetical amount of revenue that CPM, the private concessionaire, will earn every quarter. The value of the metered parking system is recalculated regularly as changes are made. If the value of the system decreases due to City actions, it owes CPM for the loss of value. If the value of the system is enhanced, CPM owes the City that credit. To date, the City has consistently ended up owing CPM in this settlement, called the "true-up payment." Clearly, the goal is to reverse that trend over the remaining 70 years of the lease. The City has already taken important steps to reduce those payments. For example, adding back Sunday paid parking in Lakeview and Wrigleyville generates an additional $1 million annually. While these revenues have helped, the City could avoid paying any true-up at all if it were to reach 100 percent "system in service" (excluding any inevitable temporary closures). The day the 2008 contract was signed, system in service was 100 percent. Since that day, the city has never hit 100 percent system in service—currently it is around 95 percent. Under the contract, the City must annually increase meter rates by inflation. If it fails to do so, it's on the hook for the difference. It's also on the hook for any permanent changes to concession meters that reduce their value. If system in service exceeds 100 percent, the City may benefit and even earn revenue.
  29. 29. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 29 Strategically place new meters where demand is high As a prime destination for Chicagoans, WCA has an opportunity to add meters, which will help the City reach 100 percent system in service. WCA and local Aldermen should work with the Chicago Department of Transportation and the City’s Chief Financial Officer to determine how to reach 100 percent system in service. Once that occurs, MPC recommends the additional meter revenue be spent on neighborhood-level transportation infrastructure in WCA, such as sidewalk, bikeshare stations, street and transit improvements. Convert hourly restricted spaces to meters Many Chicago neighborhoods and suburban downtowns, have relied on meter time limits to encourage turnover. Time limits would work if every trip or visit required the same amount of time, but that’s not the case in today’s shopping areas and downtowns. What would the ideal time limit be for a mixed-use block with a coffee shop, apartments, a day spa and a bank? A person going to the bank may only need to park for a couple of minutes, while a spa treatment at the salon could last several hours, and coffee shop visits vary from five minutes to half a day. A resident might want to park all night. When parking spaces are time-restricted according to the surrounding uses, they are effectively removed from the general supply of parking for user who needs to park for a longer period of time. The different stores and destinations in WCA have varying peak hours of demand. So if a few spaces are limited to short-term parking and a few for long-term parking, there may be times when all of the long-term spaces are full, and other visitors would not be able to use the available short-term spaces. It is not an efficient use of the valuable resource of parking. It is also very costly and challenging to enforce time limits, and especially varying time limits. You could have extremely rigorous enforcement to prevent abuse, but this costly approach is not customer-friendly and ends up punishing the patrons of local businesses. If the price is right, there should be no need to differentiate between short-term or long-term parking. Revenue analysis In 2013, the Chicago Inspector General predicted utilization of Chicago’s parking meters to be between 25 percent and 37 percent. Based on that data, revenue has been projected for reinstating Sunday paid meters and adding meters to commercial areas. Reinstate paid Sunday parking Free Sunday parking has inevitably hurt retail areas where drivers can now park their cars on Saturday evening and leave them in prime parking spaces until Monday morning without paying. The WCA should follow the lead of other highly commercial areas of the City and work with aldermen to reinstate paid Sunday parking. Adding Sunday paid meters to WCA’s existing supply could generate between $130,000 and $500,000 annually.
  30. 30. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 30 Adding Sundays 340 Meters 100% Utilization 25% Utilization 37% Utilization 50% Utilization Day (per meter) $28 $7 $10 $14 Annually (per meter) $1,456 $364 $539 $728 Total Annual Revenue (358 meters) $495,040 $130,312 $192,862 $260,624 Install meters in high-demand areas, while converting loading and standing zones to meters WCA should partner with the aldermen and local businesses to install concession meters where they do not exist on commercial streets, such as on Randolph, in the Fulton Market area and on Halsted. Analysis of current meter placement shows an additional 300 spaces could be converted from free, loading or standing zones to meters. For example, on Jackson between Peoria and Green Streets, there are a combination of metered and paid spots, which should all be metered for consistency and because it is a high-demand retail area. Additionally, Randolph street has blocks of loading and tow zones and no meters. WCA should work with aldermen and the Chicago Department of Transportation to consolidate loading zones and convert some to meters. Revenue from additional meters Each additional meter generates (including Sundays) 100% Utilization 25% Utilization 37% Utilization 50% Utilization Day (per meter) $28 $7 $10 $14 Annually (per meter) $10,220 $2,555 $3,781 $5,110 Adding 300 meters (annual revenue) $3,066,000 $766,500 $1,134,420 $1,533,000 Performance pricing The concession allows the City to institute performance pricing, or variable pricing, on a neighborhood level. Performance pricing bases the hourly cost of parking at a meter on current demand for that space, rather than on an arbitrary flat rate. The process for a change in meter rates, additional locations or hours requires City Council to evaluate whether that change would have an adverse effect on overall parking meter revenues and to pass an ordinance. However, when the City makes any change to a meter, it comes with the risk of owing CPM in the quarterly True-Up if utilization decreases. The solution is getting the system in service to 100 percent and the True-Up payment down to $0 or even to a positive balance to mitigate the budget risk
  31. 31. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 31 for taxpayers. This would create an opportunity to experiment with a performance pricing pilot, because the risk associated with the effect of changing meter rates to the system’s aggregate revenue would be limited. While there is potential risk—the City would be required to pay CPM the difference if revenues were to decrease—there is also potential reward: Parking is available so drivers can quickly find open spaces, resulting in less congestion. Moreover, the City could capture additional revenues if they increase. Given that most of the WCA is not metered and many people are coming to WCA to go to high-end restaurants and stores, it’s likely shoppers and visitors would pay slightly higher rates. It would be most beneficial to fluctuate the price for parking based on demand at different times of the day and week. This change could generate more revenue for the system by drawing more people to the area and balancing demand on weekends. Once other optimizations have been made to increase revenue and mitigate the risk of loss, the City should experiment with performance pricing. If the City wishes to initiate performance pricing, CPM must install software into its multi-space meters that allows for this rate structure. The concession agreement requires that this software (known as Time Differential Metering Systems) must allow the City to set rates in increments as small as 15 minutes or as long as 24 hours. The software also must allow customers to purchase multiple hours of parking across varying rate schedules. The concession did include a provision that requires the software to allow customers to pay a reduced rate during a “non-peak” time, as an incentive to use a parking spot during periods of low demand. The software also must allow the City to either increase or decrease the rate for every subsequent hour that a customer purchases to park. United Center Given its proximity to the United Center, WCA could follow the lead of Washington, D.C. and institute demand pricing on game days. D.C.’s Ballpark District is a 145-block area with 6,200 curbside parking spaces around National’s Stadium. The Ballpark District uses different hourly rates, up to $8 per hour, depending on the stadium’s schedule. Reserve meters Once the City has added enough concession meters and made other optimizations to reach 100 percent system in service, any new meters within the WCA area should be reserve meters (instead of concession meters), as this would allow the City to keep 85 percent of the revenue. This revenue should be used for neighborhood improvements. 2. Explore changes to the residential permit system to prevent permits from becoming merely “hunting licenses.” The study area only has a few residential permitted areas, which vary by time and duration. There are also several streets that require industrial permits to park. If there is high demand by residents to convert streets to permitted parking, it is important to consider that the price of a permit does not correlate to demand in dense neighborhoods. Permits can quickly become “hunting licenses,” meaning that drivers with a permit can search for a spot but may not be able to find one. Permits are often oversold,
  32. 32. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 32 so that there are more permits than available spaces, as opposed to being used as an effective tool that balances parking demand. 3. Improve utilization of loading zones and valet parking spaces through consolidation, streamlining education and enforcement. Large shipments to businesses and restaurants are often delivered using curbside parking. This is managed by issuing designated parking spots in front of businesses to be exclusively used for loading and unloading goods. In addition to limiting the existing parking supply, the loading zones in Chicago are often abused by business owners or employees who park their personal vehicles in the loading zone during their shifts. When personal vehicles are illegally parked in the loading zone, delivery trucks are often forced to double park, adding to congestion, slowing traffic and creating unsafe conditions for bicyclists and pedestrians. In New York City, charging for parking in a commercial loading zone increased their efficiency of use and shifted the payment from the local businesses (as is done in Chicago) and onto the delivery trucks using the parking. This strategy, combined with consolidated loading zones, should be undertaken in WCA. Loading zones often confuse drivers because restrictions often vary by space. The three types of loading zones in the study area are general loading zones, standing zones and valet spaces. General loading zones are only for commercial vehicles engaged in the process of loading or unloading goods or vehicles which hold a valid Non-Commercial Loading Zone Permit and are in the process of loading or unloading. Drivers do not have to be in their cars and flashing lights are not necessary. If a business wants a loading zone, they must pay for it, but the use is not limited to their businesses. The cost of a loading zone depends on the size of the space. Since 2012, the annual fee for 20 feet of linear curb space has been $110. There is an additional fee of $50 per each additional linear foot of curb. The application process takes approximately nine months from the time of requesting a loading zone.
  33. 33. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 33 A standing zone is for the short-term loading and unloading of goods or passengers. A driver does not need to be inside the vehicle, but in the immediate vicinity. A valet parking spot is a loading zone that allows for restaurants to use the space for patron pick-up and drop-off during certain hours. Some signs indicate that the parking space is a general loading zone at all other hours. Unless otherwise posted, a passenger vehicle may legally park for free at a general loading zone, a standing zone or a valet zone if it is outside of the applicable hours. For example, if the sign says Loading Zone 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a passenger vehicle may park there from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. A loading zone is not for the proprietary use of the business that pays for its installation; a loading zone can be used by neighboring businesses that have loading needs. Past MPC parking studies have found that loading and standing zones are not enforced when there are obvious infractions. This encourages abuse and creates traffic flow and congestion problems. The sheer number of loading and standing zones in the study area is confusing to parkers and takes valuable spaces away from customers. These zones are also not strictly enforced by the City. Since loading zones are often used by business owners who say that they have no other options, WCA could identify potential parking spaces for business owners, such as nearby lots, and facilitate shared parking agreements.
  34. 34. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 34 Consolidating loading zones would ensure that business owners would utilize these spaces for their intended use while increasing the current parking supply for consumers; this would require a coordinated effort between all of the aldermen who represent the WCA district. Monthly parking spaces are available in the neighborhood and the WCA can help make business owners aware of the options. Valet parking in the neighborhood can be both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, valet services can prevent unnecessary cruising by drivers looking for parking; on the other hand, traffic congestion around valet stands can be problematic. Encouraging efficient movement of vehicles and proper arrangements between valet companies and off-street lots (rather than free residential parking) can help improve the integration of valet services into the neighborhood. By requesting residential feedback to the WCA about the operations of valet companies, the WCA can keep an eye out for undesirable activity. WCA should publish an educational flyer for business owners regarding proper and improper loading zone use, and warn of intention to curb abuse. Including advocating for the following:  Encourage the City of Chicago to enforce loading zone regulations by calling 311 on offenders, documenting abuse and working with local aldermen to gain support for enforcement.  A longer term solution would be for aldermen to devise a coordinated program to consolidate loading zones and phase out the program where business owners pay for loading zones by no longer renewing loading zone permits or issuing new permits while establishing shared, mid-block loading zone spaces.  If issues continue despite increased education, enforcement and consolidation, the City of Chicago should consider the New York City Greenwich Village case study example and charge loading zones as metered spaces in addition to requiring that actual loading take place while a vehicle is parked. 4. Implement shared parking arrangements to better utilize the existing parking supply, particularly with institutional uses in the study area There are underutilized off-street parking lots in the neighborhood that could be shared with other users during low-demand hours (e.g. schools, churches, residential). Since many of these lots are in proximity to WCA’s higher-demanded spaces, “shared use agreements” would create a more balanced parking demand. The parking lot owner would allow others to use their parking lots during their “off-peak” hours and in return receive an agreed-upon amount of money. Contracts will need to cover liability issues. Websites such as SpotHero and Parkatmyhouse.com can help to facilitate sharing of parking spaces without the need to consider liability (as their programs cover that). The WCA can work with local parking lot owners with excess capacity off-hours, like Whole Foods, Walgreen’s or Mariano’s to incorporate reserved spaces through SpotHero or for valets.
  35. 35. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 35 5. Increased parking supply There is always the option to increase the amount of parking available. As a strategy to reduce parking congestion, increasing parking supply should only be used after all other strategies have been exhausted—particularly pricing. Adding parking is not recommended before pricing because it is extremely expensive. Increased availability of parking also induces more people to drive when they did not previously. However, structured parking is preferred over large surface lots. When the price to park on- street is competitive with the costs of building and maintaining a space in a structure, a garage can improve a neighborhood’s parking situation. If considering building garage parking, an example from neighboring Oak Park, Illinois is a case study for success. Parking in Oak Park’s three public parking garages is free for the first hour and increases incrementally thereafter with an hourly rate. This policy shifted many long-term parkers to choose garages over on-street meters. Former parking manager and now interim village mayor Cara Pavlicek says the price changes “freed up parking meters for short-term customers willing to pay the higher rate for the convenience of the short-term stay” thereby increasing retail activity. Back-in angled parking Of the different types of on-street parking, back-in angled parking (also called head-out or reverse-angled parking) is most preferable when street widths allow. It is easier than parallel parking, creates more spaces along the curb, and it is safer for all users. When returning to the car and driving away, the driver can access the trunk from the sidewalk, and has a better line of sight for oncoming traffic, which especially improves safety for bicyclists. Additionally, back-in angled parking reduces traffic speeds, making the street safer for pedestrians. Back-in currently exists in the WCA study area on Randolph and in Fulton Market. Where the right of way allows, WCA should work with the Chicago Department of Transportation to create more supply of this type of parking. 6. Improve the safety of bicycling and walking and continue to promote active transportation Train and Divvy ridership is high in the WCA. The Morgan CTA station has seen an annual increase in ridership since it opened. However, there are few bike lanes in the study area and none are protected. WCA should work with aldermanic offices and the Chicago Department of Transportation to determine the appropriate streets to designate as bike ways and install protected bike lanes where possible. Further, the WCA should promote the Active Transportation Alliance’s “Bike to Work” and “Walk to Work” events with local businesses and residents. Employers could also promote active transportation to their employees through incentive programs (discounted transit passes, pre-tax transit benefits, Divvy memberships, car-share memberships, etc.).
  36. 36. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 36 Conclusion The strategies discussed above will begin to balance parking supply and demand, improve user information and expand options for visitors and residents who choose not to drive. These efforts will help to maintain the area as a vibrant and walkable destination neighborhood. Implementing changes to any parking system is challenging. Yet inaction will not address the main problem—a lack of convenient on-street parking spaces—and will only harm local businesses and frustrate residents. Successful efforts by local aldermen to change policy, combined with continued efforts of the WCA will significantly aid in addressing this key problem. Implementing the recommendations in this plan will assist in strengthening the neighborhood and ensure that WCA continues to be a magnet for people and unique local businesses, restaurants, and more. Parking case studies Parking problems are not exclusive to the WCA district. When looking at other cities across the U.S., there are multiple cities that have experienced similar issues and implemented parking policies and programs that have helped address local parking challenges. The following communities are considered destinations within their respective regions and have executed programs dealing with congested residential permit parking, signage clarity, loading zone abuse and meter time restrictions. Boulder: Improved Signage Despite the variety of retail, entertainment and commercial activities located in downtown Boulder, Colorado, many residents once avoided this area, claiming there was not enough parking provided in the central business district. After conducting a series of stakeholder interviews, the City realized there was a disconnect between the public’s awareness of parking availability and the existing supply. This discrepancy was addressed in 2004, when the city implemented a series of aggressive parking signage and marketing initiatives throughout Boulder’s downtown. Signage was improved to clearly direct drivers to lower-occupancy garages; this was done with new and improved entryway canopies over all parking structures. Additional signs were also placed along roads approaching lots and garages, directing more drivers to available spaces from a greater distance. Marketing campaigns targeted drivers by creating distinct advertisements in a variety of media formats; these included placing parking banners on several of the businesses websites, distributing additional maps throughout the downtown and introducing a parking validation program with selected tenants. One of the most successful campaigns was titled “Know Your Numbers” in which the city created a series of flyers presenting hard facts about the existing parking conditions, such as the number of spaces in underutilized garages and the central business district’s average parking occupancy rate, concisely demonstrating to users that parking was not actually an issue downtown. Through the implementation of these initiatives, Boulder was able to successfully eliminate the negative perceptions associated with downtown parking, increase the occupancy rate of underutilized lots and structures, and enable more customers to utilize the variety of retail, entertainment and commercial activities present.
  37. 37. A future for the Near West Side | July 2016 | Metropolitan Planning Council | West Central Association 37 Loading Zones: New York Greenwich Village in downtown New York experienced similar issues and inefficiencies with their loading zones as are found in the WCA district. To combat this problem, the city conducted a series of PARK Smart pilot programs in which market-rate pricing was applied to curbside loading zones with an escalated price schedule. Rates for trucks and commercial vehicles were changed to $2.50 for one hour, $5 for two hours and $9 for three hours of parking. Although the extent of the program’s benefits varied by community area, results showed that traffic volumes declined, vehicular turnover improved and parking availability increased. Businesses also reported that the progressive pricing schedule incentivized deliveries to take place during non- business hours, allowing employees to be available for daytime business hours and assist more customers. At the end of the pilot program, the community and delivery industry voted in favor of making PARK Smart permanent and to expand the peak rate to the rest of the metered parking spaces in the neighborhood. The commercial parking rates now cover the majority of commercial parking spaces in the surrounding area. Overall, the program has allowed loading zones to successfully function in an urban environment without causing congestion. San Francisco: Extending Parking Meter Hours The City of San Francisco experienced excessive occupancy rates outside of enforcement hours (10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.), with cars remaining in spaces for extended periods of time as prevailing business hours went later and nightlife became more prevalent. To address this issue, the city implemented a pilot program that established new parking meter hours within the central business district; enforcement hours on Friday and Saturday were extended to 9:00 p.m. and remained enforced until 6:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The pilot program found that there is a clear relationship between parking availability and meter enforcement; congestion along the city’s streets decreased and parking spaces became available for all users. Extending meter hours was recognized as a vital parking management tool that can enhance availability and balance demand. The pilot was extended within the San Francisco Bay Area and is presently undergoing final time adjustments.

×