Meeting on Jefferson Park Master Plan set for June 19
by BRIAN NADIG
Input for a Jefferson Park master plan will be sought at a community meeting that will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday, June 19, at the Copernicus Center Annex, 5214 W. Lawrence Ave.
The plan, which is expected to be completed by March of 2018, will include recommendations on improving access to the Jefferson Park Transit Center, 4917 N. Milwaukee Ave., for all modes of transportation.
The plan also will recommend neighborhood improvements which would complement the planned $25 million renovation of the CTA terminal. Guidelines for the redevelopment of underutilized properties in the area also will be included.
Titled the “Jefferson Park Station Area Master Plan,” its study area will focus on streets and properties located within a few blocks of the transit center.
It also will look at a larger market area, whose boundaries are Bryn Mawr Avenue on the north, Montrose Avenue on the south, Austin Avenue on the west and Cicero Avenue on the east. The market area has a population of 31,000, with a median age of 40 and a median household income of $61,766, according to several data collection services. In addition, about 18 percent commute via public transportation compared to a citywide average of 27 percent.
The area consists of Jefferson Park, Wilson Park and Forest Glen and sections of Portage Park and Gladstone Park, covering portions of the 45th, 39th and 38th wards.
Parts of a recently completed Gladstone Park Master Plan will be incorporated into the Jefferson Park plan, according to project consultants.
The Gladstone Park plan covers the Milwaukee Avenue and Northwest Highway commercial corridors north of the Kennedy Expressway and calls for a recommended height limit of four stories for new construction. The height recommendation became part of an intense community debate on a proposed seven-story housing project at 5150 N. Northwest Highway that has the support of Alderman John Arena (45th).
The planning process is being overseen by the consulting firm of Teska Associates. A grant from the Regional Transportation Agency is paying for most of the study’s $120,000 cost.
Working with Arena’s office, Teska has formed resident and business outreach groups which will give feedback for the plan and review data which is collected as part of the study. A third group consists of representatives of transportation and planning agencies.
One of the study’s goals calls for identifying ways to revitalize the Milwaukee-Lawrence district, which includes many vacant storefronts. Those being interviewed for the study are being asked to offer nearby retail districts which would serve as good examples for Jefferson Park.
The study also will identify areas where new or improved pedestrian crossings are needed and where more elements of the city’s “Streets for Cycling Plan,” including bike lane markings, can be installed. Another goal calls for recommendations on how overall connectivity in the area can be enhanced given the challenges created by the Kennedy Expressway cutting through the neighborhood.
A Web site on the master planning process has been set up at www.accessjeffpark.org. A survey which is available on the Web site asks residents and area workers about their commuting and shopping habits.