Urban planning event held in Jefferson Park
by BRIAN NADIG
About 60 people attended an urban planning experiment that took place on Sunday, Oct. 11, in an alley across the street from the Jefferson Park CTA terminal, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave.
The alley was decorated with paint and ribbons in an effort to help solicit information on residents’ walking patterns and to explore the possibility of using the alley for occasional pop-up art performances and other activities. The alley, which is between Popeye’s Chicken, 4866 N. Milwaukee Ave., and the former First Staffing building, 4872 N. Milwaukee Ave., is a popular cut-through for people walking to the terminal.
"It worked really well," architect Odile Compagnon said. "We had a lot of interest. Now they see how it can become a place, not just an alley,"
Compagnon, who is a professor at the School of the Art Institute, said that a regular user of the alley brought his children, who drew stencil art on the alley pavement. "It was part of his life, and he wanted his children to see the shortcut," she said.
The event was part of a project sponsored by the Good City Group, which brings architects, urban planners and residents together to develop healthy and sustainable practices.
Archeworks, a Chicago design school that encourages cross-disciplinary thinking, is participating in the project.
The project is intended to encourage commuters to walk or bike to the CTA terminal and the Forest Glen Metra station, 5301 N. Leclaire Ave., by creating visually appealing routes that take in some of the historic and cultural attractions in the area.
Compagnon said that most of those who stopped by the alley expressed interest in participating in one of several workshops for the project. To register for a workshop, send an e-mail to goodcitygroup@ archeworks.org.
Construction equipment near the west end of the alley is being used for redevelopment of the two-story First Staffing building, where a third floor will be added. Portions of a rear garage recently were removed, and some visitors to the Oct. 11 event expressed concern that the work site had not been not properly secured.