Meeting set on revised plans to install billboard near station
by BRIAN NADI
Alderman John Arena (45th) will hold a community meeting Wednesday, May 2, regarding a revised plan to install an 80-foot-tall digital billboard near the intersection of Wilson and Lamon avenues by the Mayfair Pumping Station.
The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the Copernicus Center Annex, 5214 W. Lawrence Ave.
The plan calls for the installation of a stop sign near the billboard, which will be installed in the eastbound lane of Wilson, across from the pumping station, according to Arena’s chief of staff Owen Brugh. The billboard will be one-sided and face the inbound lanes of the Kennedy Expressway, he said.
Traffic will be allowed to flow both east and west on Wilson, but only one vehicle at a time and alternating directions. For example, a motorist traveling east will have to wait for a westbound car to pass the billboard before he or she can proceed.
In 2015, plans called for the permanent closure of the intersection to accommodate the billboard, sparking objections from nearby homeowners. Arena went to the site at the time in an attempt to stop preliminary construction of the billboard with his car. Residents also rejected a second plan to make Wilson a one-way street.
During rush hour many residents use Wilson to avoid the traffic signal at Lawrence and Cicero avenues due to backups on Lawrence.
"After several years of discussions between the Mayor’s Office, the Chicago Department of Transportation, the Department of Water Management, the Law Department, the Finance Department, and my office, they are now ready to present their third plan for this intersection to the community," Arena said in his April 20 newsletter.
"In the discussions, city lawyers indicated that a digital billboard must be installed at the site due to a contract the city entered into with the billboard company, and no other site is available," Arena said.
According to water management records, underground infrastructure related to the pumping station at 4850 W. Wilson Ave. prevents the billboard from being located on the front lawn of the station or on other nearby city-owned land, Arena said.
In addition, state regulations prevent the billboard from being located further to the east on city land because of the proximity of another billboard, according to Arena.
Construction is scheduled to start on May 7 and be completed by mid-August, weather permitting. The intersection will be closed during the construction.
The Wilson-Lamon billboard is part of a citywide program in which the city leases city-owned land to digital billboard companies. In 2013 Arena voted against the ordinance that authorized the billboards.