Neighborhood street fest planned for Milwaukee Ave in Gladstone Park


Preliminary plans for a street festival on Milwaukee Avenue were announced at the Nov. 3 meeting of the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association.

Tentatively called “Gladstone Park Fest,” it would be located on Milwaukee between Elston on the north and Miami Avenue on the south, and plans call for it to be held for two or three days in mid-September. The main sponsor of the proposed festival would be the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce, but the association is working with the chamber and Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) on planning the festival.

“We really want something that would promote Gladstone Park and support our businesses because we want our businesses to survive,” said resident John Garrido, who is one of the association’s founders and who also serves on the chamber’s board of directors.

Proper signage and the implementation of detours would help facilitate traffic on Milwaukee during the festival, and Elston would remain open to traffic, Garrido said. Several blocks of Milwaukee are shut down for the annual “Six Corners BBQ Fest” on Father’s Day weekend.

Details of the approximately block-long Gladstone Park festival are being worked out, but in addition to music and vendors, a 5K run may be included, Garrido said. The festival likely would be held in September so that it does not interfere with other local festivals, including “Jeff Fest” in July and “Edison Park Fest” in August, he said.

Also at the meeting, concerns were raised about bicyclists who use the bike lanes on Milwaukee at night but do not have lights and reflectors on their bicycles. Some residents reported that there appears to be more bicyclists on Milwaukee since the bike lanes were widened this year as part of the city’s Complete Streets Program.

Laurino, who was the guest speaker at the meeting, said that she would ask the city’s “Bicycling Ambassadors” to conduct outreach events in the area. The program is intended to promote roadway safety for bicyclists and motorists, and program participants hold workshops that encourage bicyclists to wear helmets and to register their bikes with the Chicago Police Department, which uses the registration information to identify the owners of recovered bicycles that had been reported stolen.

Some residents at the meeting recommended that the city require bike owners to purchase a license for their bicycle in an effort to better promote bike safety and to generate additional revenue for the cash-strapped city. Milwaukee has a licensing program for bicycles, but no fee is charged, and officials in several other cities which considered licensing fees for bikes have concluded that it would not generate enough revenue to justify administrative costs.

Also, Laurino reported that her office has rain barrels available for residents who are interested in installing one in their garden and that plans are moving forward to build the North Branch bike and pedestrian trail extension from Edgebrook to LaBagh Woods, from which trail users can connect to the Sauganash Trail that runs to the north or the planned Weber Spur Trail that will run to the northeast.

The association is planning to provide Laurino and Alderman John Arena (45th) with a list of volunteers who are interested in shoveling snow at the homes of the elderly and disabled. Peterson Avenue is the dividing line between the 39th and 45th wards.

It also was reported that representatives of the association have talked to members of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association about the fact that membership boundaries for the JPNA recently were expanded to include about half of Gladstone Park. Efforts to expand Jefferson Park’s boundaries began before a decision was made to create the Gladstone Park group, which started meeting on a regular basis this fall, Garrido said. “They would defer to us before they took a position (on a Gladstone Park issue),” he said.