As you may recall, I hosted a discussion last week about parking and traffic issues in the Jarvis Square business district. I am writing to report on the outcome of that discussion.
Over fifty neighborhood residents and business owners attended the meeting. The discussion centered on three topics: 1) a proposal from businessman Tony Barbanente to install diagonal parking on the north side of Jarvis between the Jarvis El Station and Ashland, 2) the possibility of installing parking meters in front of the businesses in Jarvis Square, and 3) the possibility of making Jarvis a two-way street from either Clark to Sheridan or Ashland to Sheridan.
Nearly everyone in attendance rejected the diagonal parking proposal. According to an engineer from the Chicago Department of Transportation, diagonal parking would yield three additional parking spaces if all the parkway trees on the north side of the street were removed, and one additional parking space if the trees were saved. The engineer explained that even if the trees were saved, they still could suffer severe distress from the construction and die in a few years.
Many in the room expressed concern that cars backing out from the diagonal parking stalls would create traffic safety hazards and that the loss of parkway trees was not worth the creation of three additional parking spaces.
The meeting attendees, however, were open to the idea of installing parking meters in the Jarvis Square business district. Many of the business owners stated their belief that meters encouraged parking turnover and would help bring new people to the Jarvis Square area. I will ask the Chicago Department of Revenue to conduct a study of the area and offer recommendations for parking meter locations and hours of operation.
Those attending the meeting were also supportive of a traffic study to explore the possibility of converting Jarvis into a two-way street, from either Clark to Sheridan or Ashland to Sheridan. Jarvis currently runs one-way eastbound from Clark to Sheridan. Long-time residents recalled that Jarvis was once a two-way street until it was changed to a one-way street in the 1970s.
Executive Director of DevCorp North, Kimberly Bares, explained that changing Jarvis to a two-way street would likely make it easier for motorists–especially those traveling on Sheridan road–to visit the Jarvis Square business district. The business owners shared Kimberly’s opinion that making Jarvis two-way would attract new customers to the strip.
I will ask the Chicago Department of Transportation to conduct a traffic study on the feasibility of making Jarvis a two-way street and its impact on the surrounding community. Because of staff shortages, the studies may take several months to complete.
After both the parking meter and traffic studies are completed, I will hold another community meeting and report back their findings. Together we will then make a decision on the next course of action.
Once again, please feel free to share your thoughts with me by replying to this e-mail.