jeffpsmith's blog

Trains, Condos, and Automobiles

My mini-tour of some of the local condo offerings led to some larger mullings. Altogether, the 4 developments I covered, representing nearly 100 new condos within a 9-iron shot of the Central Street Metra station, raise interesting questions. No doubt all will eventually sell; but at what price? One wonders if the demand for "transit-oriented" luxury condos here hasn’t been overestimated.

False Choices on Evanston's Future

A frequent rhetorical trick is to oversimplify an issue, and then present to the audience, factfinder, or decisionmaker a false choice, usually with loaded verbiage. Henry Kissinger was a master of the "we have two choices" overdistillation; Donald Rumsfeld would frequently attempt the same thing by re-phrasing a question into an unpalatable option v. what the Administration was doing.

This tack is what one alderman employed in saying Evanston's only option is to "move forward" or else we "slip backward."

Be Careful What You Ask For

Both by nature and training I tend to look at multiple sides of issues. So, both to try and see if lemonade is extractable from the sour taste of the last Tower vote, and to try and extend some credit to Council members, I stepped back and looked at the punt to the Plan Commission in another light. One way to view it is that residents got, in part, what they asked for.

More Is Not Always Better

No one can argue with the fact that downtown Evanston now is more vibrant than that of 20 or 30 years ago. Or, at least, I certainly won't. I remember all too well when the food options consisted of The Gold Coin v. Jim's Char-Broil, and the sidewalks rolled up at 5:00. I enjoy having the movie theaters, the coffeeshops, the two large bookstores (and the fact that Bookman's Alley survives), a variety of dining choices.

But I'm sick of hearing the sounds of that dead horse being beaten.

Planning v. Development

The following was originally prepared for presentation to the Planning & Development Committee on Mon., Mar. 17, with respect to the proposed 49-story tower at 708 Church St. (click pic at right to see larger image), which most agree would be the biggest potential change to our downtown in years.

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