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the urban politician Apr 11, 2009 10:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4190303)
The Urban Politician's Revised T Zoning Ordinance

Okay, I made a few small adjustments to a topic that I brought up a few months ago. If it's impossible to implement this concept please don't be shy to say so, but I would love to see city wheels cranking to get SOME sort of solution started that makes better use of the city's transit system.

Here goes:

1. T Zoning defined as all sites within 500 feet radius of every heavy rail stop in Chicago, outside of the Central Area

2. All Landmarked structures within 500 ft of a transit stop are permanently exempt from T Zoning. If they happen to be damaged, torn down, burned down, etc they will continue to keep their existing zoning and CANNOT be upzoned to T zoning

3. T zoning is broken down into the following:
a. T1 zoning allows for a much higher density (30 stories, etc etc)--
within 0-300 ft from the station
b. T2 zoning allows for medium density (10 stories, etc)--within 300-500
ft from the station

4. Parking in T Zoning depends on the building type (commercial, residential, hotel) but in general T zoning is defined by maximum parking ratios, not minimum parking ratios as is contained in the current zoning code

5. Residential, hotel, office, or mixed uses are allowable under T zoning

6. T Zoning is absolute and CANNOT be brought down by any action except the following exceptions:
a. Supermajority vote by City Council along with Mayor's signature--in
this process downzoning is perpetually temporary and must be
renewed by this very same process every 5 years or else it
automatically reverts to its prior T zoning

b. Landmarking (by the standard process) of an existing structure that
wasn't landmarked before--this is permanent

7. As a sweetener to Alderman who may be distraught about losing their Aldermanic "prerogative", TIF zones are created around transit stops with the spending of such monies being at the sole discretion of that neighborhood's Alderperson.


This is a rough concept, and I put a wee bit more thought into it, and yes it's kind of a dream. But would it be possible for Chicago to implement something like this if certain leaders put some muscle behind it? Any thoughts? I'd appreciate them..

^ I'd also like to add that my above T zoning wouldn't take effect for a couple of years, giving the city time to Landmark as many properties as possible

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4190321)
^Well, it would certainly spur creation of a huge number of new landmark districts.

^ Yeah, that could be a problem if overdone. But Landmarking would have to be done by the standard process (approval by Landmarks Commission, followed by City Council vote)

honte Apr 11, 2009 11:01 PM

That is, if we even have a landmarks ordinance any more.

Mr Downtown Apr 12, 2009 6:31 PM

Actually, I'm not too worried about the landmarks ordinance. I've read the appellate decision, and its own logic doesn't stand up to even the simplest scrutiny. "Void-for-vagueness" is a test normally applied to criminal conduct, with the idea that it's unfair to punish someone for conduct they didn't know was illegal. But of course your property doesn't become a landmark without your knowledge, and any action you might take concerning the exterior appearance, including demolition, require you to get a permit from a city official. If the permit is issued in error, you're shielded from any punishment anyway.

As to the T zoning proposal, I think it's using a rocket-propelled grenade to kill mosquitos. First, in all but about eight wards, anyone proposing a 30-story building would be driven downtown to get the building permit in a limo chartered by the alderman and the neighborhood association. In those where there would be trouble, how realistic do you think it is to tell the residents that they should have no control whatsoever over the character of their neighborhoods? Second, it's rather un-nuanced; does it really make sense to suggest 30-story buildings at Cullerton/Kostner, or 49th/Kedzie? Finally, the idea that highrises equal urbanity, or even density, ignores the example of every city on the planet other than Manhattan, Hong Kong, and Chicago. And even ignores pre-1960 Chicago.

Much more workable, I think, to give a T bonus of 33 percent extra FAR—and exempt 33 percent of the units or office space from any parking requirement. I think a parking maximum is highly problematic. It's an attempt to tell people in a wealthy society what possessions they may own, and that's doomed to failure. Even the towns in Germany that made a big deal about being car-free, thus self-selecting the residents, soon discovered that many of them were keeping cars just outside the boundary. It also tells developers that they shouldn't bother building any units that they hope to sell to people who place any value on their time. How many car-free physicians do you know? If there are urban design problems with auto storage, we should deal with it as a design problem, not a behavior problem.

BVictor1 Apr 12, 2009 7:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4191352)
Actually, I'm not too worried about the landmarks ordinance. I've read the appellate decision, and its own logic doesn't stand up to even the simplest scrutiny. "Void-for-vagueness" is a test normally applied to criminal conduct, with the idea that it's unfair to punish someone for conduct they didn't know was illegal. But of course your property doesn't become a landmark without your knowledge, and any action you might take concerning the exterior appearance, including demolition, require you to get a permit from a city official. If the permit is issued in error, you're shielded from any punishment anyway.

As to the T zoning proposal, I think it's using a rocket-propelled grenade to kill mosquitos. First, in all but about eight wards, anyone proposing a 30-story building would be driven downtown to get the building permit in a limo chartered by the alderman and the neighborhood association. In those where there would be trouble, how realistic do you think it is to tell the residents that they should have no control whatsoever over the character of their neighborhoods? Second, it's rather un-nuanced; does it really make sense to suggest 30-story buildings at Cullerton/Kostner, or 49th/Kedzie? Finally, the idea that highrises equal urbanity, or even density, ignores the example of every city on the planet other than Manhattan, Hong Kong, and Chicago. And even ignores pre-1960 Chicago.

Much more workable, I think, to give a T bonus of 33 percent extra FAR—and exempt 33 percent of the units or office space from any parking requirement. I think a parking maximum is highly problematic. It's an attempt to tell people in a wealthy society what possessions they may own, and that's doomed to failure. Even the towns in Germany that made a big deal about being car-free, thus self-selecting the residents, soon discovered that many of them were keeping cars just outside the boundary. It also tells developers that they shouldn't bother building any units that they hope to sell to people who place any value on their time. How many car-free physicians do you know? If there are urban design problems with auto storage, we should deal with it as a design problem, not a behavior problem.

Residnets shouldn't have control. They should have a voice, an opinion, but not control. That's one reason why we have so much stupid, dumbed down shit as of late in this town.

I don't see a building that tall happening at 49th and Kedzie anyway, seeing as Midway is so close, but thanks for the thought.

As Shawn mentioned in a post several days ago, you can't build the density in Chicago as if it were pre-1960 anymore because of stricter regulations and current market trends. Romanticizing about that era of development isn't going to bring it back.

Chicago Shawn Apr 12, 2009 7:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4191352)
I think a parking maximum is highly problematic. It's an attempt to tell people in a wealthy society what possessions they may own, and that's doomed to failure. Even the towns in Germany that made a big deal about being car-free, thus self-selecting the residents, soon discovered that many of them were keeping cars just outside the boundary. It also tells developers that they shouldn't bother building any units that they hope to sell to people who place any value on their time. How many car-free physicians do you know? If there are urban design problems with auto storage, we should deal with it as a design problem, not a behavior problem.

Oh come on! No one is suggesting that we make the whole neighborhood subject to a maximum parking ratio. Building structures with a reduced parking requirement near transit will provide cheaper units for those of us buyers who do have/ do not want a car, but as a result need to be near transit. These people do exist in greater numbers than just the pro-urban folks on this forum. Even friggen' Seattle is instituting parking maximums along transit routes to encourage reduced car ownership and more affordable market rate housing. There will always be plenty of other housing choices a block or more away where car oriented folks can store their precious baby on site.

ardecila Apr 12, 2009 8:14 PM

The conversations in this thread and the General Developments thread are convergent....

Anyway, why not just abolish the parking minimum around transit stations? A maximum is too constraining and punitive. If there is really a demand in the market for units without parking spaces in significant quantities, then abolishing the minimums will allow developers to satisfy this demand.

Of course, this introduces other problems, as happened with the 4+1 debacle, when developers don't provide ENOUGH spaces for their residents, leading to a critical shortage of on-street parking in the neighborhood and added congestion from people circling and searching for a space.

It's a tricky balance.

the urban politician Apr 12, 2009 8:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown (Post 4191352)
As to the T zoning proposal, I think it's using a rocket-propelled grenade to kill mosquitos. First, in all but about eight wards, anyone proposing a 30-story building would be driven downtown to get the building permit in a limo chartered by the alderman and the neighborhood association. In those where there would be trouble, how realistic do you think it is to tell the residents that they should have no control whatsoever over the character of their neighborhoods? Second, it's rather un-nuanced; does it really make sense to suggest 30-story buildings at Cullerton/Kostner, or 49th/Kedzie? Finally, the idea that highrises equal urbanity, or even density, ignores the example of every city on the planet other than Manhattan, Hong Kong, and Chicago. And even ignores pre-1960 Chicago.

^ On top of what BVictor and Shawn said, we are talking about ZONING here. What high density zoning would do is protect land, not DICTATE its development. So yes, of course 49th/Kedzie is a ridiculous place to build a 30 story building. That's why a developer can choose to build 2 single family homes there instead. But the beauty of the zoning is, at some future time if by some odd incident that area of town sees a boom, the land under it perpetually keeps its T zoning so that the corrupt powers that be can't prevent the site from being developed into a higher density later on.

Secondly, as Shawn (who explained this to me once on an L train years ago) and many others have laid out, modern self-respecting professionals generally want to have a lot of space for themselves and their cars, so the only way to achieve urban densities is to build vertically.

Quote:

Much more workable, I think, to give a T bonus of 33 percent extra FAR—and exempt 33 percent of the units or office space from any parking requirement. I think a parking maximum is highly problematic. It's an attempt to tell people in a wealthy society what possessions they may own, and that's doomed to failure. Even the towns in Germany that made a big deal about being car-free, thus self-selecting the residents, soon discovered that many of them were keeping cars just outside the boundary. It also tells developers that they shouldn't bother building any units that they hope to sell to people who place any value on their time. How many car-free physicians do you know? If there are urban design problems with auto storage, we should deal with it as a design problem, not a behavior problem.
^ Your idea is fine but it doesn't go far enough. Corrupt Aldermen, at the behest of neighborhood groups, can still SQUASH a development to smithereens regardless of extra FAR's, etc. All they have to do is TELL the developer to put in more parking and reduce the size of the project or they won't approve the zoning change--it's as simple as that, and you and I both know it happens all the time.

The idea is to get the control of zoning in these highly important areas out of their hands. Let me also mention that Aldermanic prerogative would still be in practice in non-T-Zoned areas of town.

Secondly, regarding your argument about parking maximums--do you really think, for example, that a 1 spot per unit cap on parking would be "doomed to fail"? I don't see it. We can get to my reasons why, but I just don't see that being a problem at all.

To summarize: call me silly, but urban America needs to protect the land around its mass transit stops in the same way we protect our parks or our landmarks--these areas of town, heavily subsidized by taxpayer dollars, should be optimized. The T Zoning Ordinance is just a concept, but if any of you work with or know higher-ups in the city, it would be great to get some kind of conversation started that moves towards a much-needed blanket upzoning.

the urban politician Apr 12, 2009 8:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 4191501)
The conversations in this thread and the General Developments thread are convergent....

Anyway, why not just abolish the parking minimum around transit stations? A maximum is too constraining and punitive. If there is really a demand in the market for units without parking spaces in significant quantities, then abolishing the minimums will allow developers to satisfy this demand.

Of course, this introduces other problems, as happened with the 4+1 debacle, when developers don't provide ENOUGH spaces for their residents, leading to a critical shortage of on-street parking in the neighborhood and added congestion from people circling and searching for a space.

It's a tricky balance.

^ Fine, but does that really go far enough? Also, regardless of zoning, Aldermen have the ultimate say. And as long as that's the case, nobody can build jack squat.

The T Zoning concept addresses that problem, and even throws Alderpersons a bone to make up for the loss of their zoning "prerogative"

emathias Apr 13, 2009 2:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4190303)
The Urban Politician's Revised T Zoning Ordinance
...
This is a rough concept, and I put a wee bit more thought into it, and yes it's kind of a dream. But would it be possible for Chicago to implement something like this if certain leaders put some muscle behind it? Any thoughts? I'd appreciate them..

Just a thought ... 1 Chicago block is 660 feet. So you're proposing we "T-zone" less than a 1-block radius around rail stations? I welcome any improvement to transit-friendly zoning here, but improving it for less than 1 block seems a tad ... underwhelming.

I think a 1500-foot diamond-shaped district (to accomodate our grid system, diamonds make more sense than circular radii) around any part of an "L" station platform and a 660-foot diamond around any part of a Metra station platform would be more appropriate.

I also think that, based on a points system awarded on a "buses per day" system, areas primarily served by bus should also qualify. There's no reason well-served parts of the north Lakefront shouldn't get T-zoned even though it's nearly a mile from a train station in places.

LucasS6 Apr 13, 2009 7:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by the urban politician (Post 4190064)
When you're in Chicago, as a driver you should be a second class citizen--period.

Wow. I should start collecting the gems from you. You say something absurdly crazy at least once a week.

the urban politician Apr 13, 2009 1:54 PM

^ I've said this to you before, and this is forever my response to you:

Takes one to know one ;)

Rilestone75 Apr 13, 2009 3:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lawfin (Post 4189696)
I really don't know what your problem is....but anyhow...driving is a massive responsibility....unfortunatley many in our society do not treat it with the gravity that is deserves. Just think for a second, you are hurtling down the street in a minimum of a 2500lb car going 30 mph...more likely a 6 or 7000lb car going 45-50......the onus is on YOU....you are the one driving the deadly weapon.

Our culture has engrained such a sense of entitlement to drivers it is really maddening....

I had a guy in a v12 mercedes turn on me as I was crossing adams yesterday....so I kicked his door as he went by...he was not too happy. I invited him to dance, he declined and sped off. Maybe he will think twice next time before turning AGAINST the light while pedestrians were crossing at a cross walk WITH THE LIGHT......probably not.....he probably thinks all pedestrians are ....morons...and that their crossing at crosswalk is a load of crap....those brazen twits

Lawfin, I agree with your reaction to the v12, I would have kicked the car too, but that guy was clearly breaking the law if he was turning against a light while podestrians are in the intersection. My problem is that (as pointed out in a few previous posts) this is more of a revenue generator.

We are dealing with two sets of rules here too. Drivers have set rules in place, whether they choose to follow them is another issue, but pedestrians have no rules. why? it is much easier to stop/start walking than it is for a 2500, 4500 lbs auto to.

As for the previouse comments by folks about universal inforcement of this, I'm not sure you can. The loop area for instance on any given day has drivers from MI, IN, IL and WI. All with inconsistent rules regarding peds.

ardecila Apr 13, 2009 3:38 PM

Mr. D posted this over at SSC. Apparently Fioretti is actually being cooperative with this thing - it comes from his newsletter. The rendering is kinda vague, but basically it's a streetscaping improvement at the corner of Financial/Congress, coupled with a new entrance to LaSalle St Station, that provides bus waiting bays and shelters and benches for pedestrians. It does not take the place of the parking lot that exists there currently, although it looks like perhaps 3 or 4 rows of spaces will be removed from the northern end.

Also, if I had to guess, that big glowing "Metra" thing will probably be set up with LEDs to coordinate with the Congress Light Show.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr Downtown
LaSalle-Congress Intermodal Transfer Center

I am very happy to present this project to 2nd Ward residents and businesspeople. The City of Chicago intends this project to make it easier to get from the La Salle Street Metra station to nearby CTA buses. The new connection will feature two new dedicated CTA bus lanes on Financial Place.

There will also be a small plaza at the location and bus shelters for passengers.

The city will use federal and local funds to pay for the project totaling $6 million. Construction for the project is set to begin in late August.

http://i40.tinypic.com/24griht.jpg


nomarandlee Apr 13, 2009 8:52 PM

Can someone list what Metra lines are planed to eventually be moved over to LaSalle Station? Thanks in advance.

schwerve Apr 13, 2009 9:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nomarandlee (Post 4193292)
Can someone list what Metra lines are planed to eventually be moved over to LaSalle Station? Thanks in advance.

current:
rock island line

future:
soutwest service (upon completion of the CREATE funded flyover at 75th scheduled for 2011 I believe)
southeast service (when completed)

ChicagoChicago Apr 14, 2009 3:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rilestone75 (Post 4192620)
Lawfin, I agree with your reaction to the v12, I would have kicked the car too, but that guy was clearly breaking the law if he was turning against a light while podestrians are in the intersection. My problem is that (as pointed out in a few previous posts) this is more of a revenue generator.

We are dealing with two sets of rules here too. Drivers have set rules in place, whether they choose to follow them is another issue, but pedestrians have no rules. why? it is much easier to stop/start walking than it is for a 2500, 4500 lbs auto to.

As for the previouse comments by folks about universal inforcement of this, I'm not sure you can. The loop area for instance on any given day has drivers from MI, IN, IL and WI. All with inconsistent rules regarding peds.

What is wrong with the city making money off of people that break the law? So what if it's a revenue generator???

OhioGuy Apr 14, 2009 4:00 PM

I hadn't been on the el since last Friday, but this morning at the Addison red line station I noticed several video screens had been installed, displaying both arrival times as well as advertisements. I didn't notice these in place at any of the other stations heading into the loop. I assume it will eventually spread to other stations, but that the CTA opted to do the first installation at Addison to coincide with the start of the baseball season?

It's not without its kinks though. When I arrived, the monitor said the next inbound trains were in 7 minutes & 11 minutes. It then said 6 minutes & 10 minutes. After that it only indicated a train that was 10 minutes away for about the next 5 minutes, up until the platform speakers announced an inbound train toward the loop would be arriving shortly - at which point the monitor updated to show trains scheduled to arrive in 1 minute, 3 minutes, and 6 minutes. So it's not quite reliable yet, particularly in comparison to BART & Metro arrival times.

Still though, it's nice to have the monitors at my local station. :D (though I'm curious how long they'll last before some dumbass decides to vandalize it - the screens are not particularly high above the platform)

pyropius Apr 14, 2009 4:20 PM

:previous:

Aren't the screens at least enclosed in some plexiglass or something?

OhioGuy Apr 14, 2009 4:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pyropius (Post 4194790)
:previous:

Aren't the screens at least enclosed in some plexiglass or something?

I don't know. I was standing at the far end of the platform and the screens were positioned more towards the middle of the platform. So I was too far away to see what sort of protection they had.

Mr Downtown Apr 14, 2009 5:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by OhioGuy (Post 4194747)
I assume it will eventually spread to other stations, but that the CTA opted to do the first installation at Addison to coincide with the start of the baseball season?

No, the first installation was at 47th (Red) in November, I think. They've been working over the winter on getting the bugs out. It's being done by a private contractor, not CTA itself.


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