Below is a copy of the report from the meeting community representatives had with the Three Crowns and city folks Feb 26. Since the entire report is a tad wordy, I've tried to summarize it here at the beginning.
If you live near Three Crowns on McDaniel, I think it will be worth reading. It will also offer a bit of insight into the city's involvment with the issues we're wrestling with in the neighborhood.
At the bottom of this message, I've added some of the personal thoughts Corky Siegfriedt shared with me about the meeting. She raised some very important points and I'd urge you to spend a little time reviewing them.
My personal assessment of the meeting is that while we have made some progress, we still have a long way to go on the issue of parking although it is clear that the people from the city have been hard at work trying to fix these problems. The city plans to offer us an update on the parking issues by March 15th.
Wednesday, February 27 -- Three Crowns Update
The real issues can be explained simply by poor planning on the part of Thyree Crowns. They simply did not develop enough underground parking for their new facility.
As of this moment, Three Crowns has dumped as many as 65 - their number - autos on the local streets each workday.
The agreement Three Crowns made with the community was that the new facility would have zero impact on local parking.
The community has only one perspective on this new development. Three Crowns needs to live up to their original deal ... no exceptions.
Right now, Three Crowns is trying to convince District 65 to let them use part of the Lincolwood School parking lot and to park along the east side of McDaniel currently posted as "No Parking at All Times."
The community is against both ideas.
Three Crowns is also currently looking into new lighting to replace the awful orange fixtures that now adorn Grant, McDaniel and Colfax.
Details on these ideas follows below.
The steering committee for the Three Crowns Community Action Committee met yesterday with management at Three Crowns and a number of representatives of city government.
The community was represented by Rob Mark and Corky Siegfriedt. Marv Lofquist, chairman of the Three Crowns board was joined by facility administrator Susan Morse. Aldermen Moran and Tisdahl also attended as did John Burke, Rajeev Dahal, Rickey Voss and Jim Wolinski for the City of Evanston.
Discussions began with Three Crowns' Susan Morse offering up details of their initial plans to solve the local parking crisis. Morse said she's had some discussions with Beth Sagett at Lincolnwood school about using their parking lot in the afternoons when teachers have left the building to store a few 3C employee vehicles.
This was not well received since there is already no room for teachers to park in the Lincolnwood lot most of the time. We learned later that the Three Crowns folks have discussed a financial incentive to D65 to help expand the Lincolnwood lot in order to accommodate some Three Crowns traffic.
Susan also said they had reexamined the underground parking structure and believe they might be able to put a dozen or so compact cars in some corners that were until now thought to be unusable. Morse is also looking at additional parking in the small lot off of Pioneer.
John Burke from the city said there is consideration being given to allowing Three Crowns employees to park along the east side of McDaniel to help fix the problem. There were concerns on everyone's part as to whether that could even possibly be a workable long-term solution because of the amount of traffic and potential congestion issues.
During the discussions, Susan Morse mentioned that she had instructed her executives to fan out their cars and not park on the perimeter streets to help the situation. We made it clear to her that sending 3C cars to neighboring streets was not a viable solution.
Alderman Tisdahl spoke up for the folks on Pioneer to let Susan know her constituents are absolutely out of patience with the current state of neighborhood parking on the east side of the facility. Liz Tisdahl quoted one of her Pioneer Road constituents who pleaded with her to "Help her family get their life and home back," due to the parking crisis.
The idea of off-street parking and the busing of employees back to 3C came up, but it was clear that this is an alternative the 3C folks would like to avoid at all costs.
The committee let the Three Crowns folks know in no uncertain terms that their good will in the community for anything had expired and that the community intended to press for a solution that includes Three Crowns living up to what it promised the community 2 1/2 years ago, no 3C parking on community streets.
Three Crowns and the city will be back in touch with us by March 15th to explain their progress. They expect some of the new underground slots to help, but it is unclear at this point when they will become available.
John Burke and the engineers will also be reviewing Three Crowns suggestion to park on McDaniel. As a reminder, during the Three Crowns planning process, the entrance to the underground garage was moved from McDaniel to Grant specifically to avoid additional traffic and congestion problems that parking on McDaniel would bring back.
The good news is that Three Crowns is planning to replace all of the obnoxious fixtures along Grant and Colfax with units that focus light directly at the ground. The bad news is that despite the significance of the total Three Crowns project - some $55 million - they have no idea when they will be able to get the fixtures in place.
Their goal is to install one first as a test to gauge the response of the community. We should know more about that by March 15th as well.
We have only a promise from the Three Crowns people at present about their desire to complete the work according to the plan submitted to the city. Jim Wolinski appears to want to hold their feet to the fire to see that they do exactly what they promised though.
From Corky Siegfriedt -
After thinking about the information presented at yesterday morning's meeting, I'd like to add a few other concerns and comments.
Regarding the possibility of expanding the Lincolnwood School parking lot, in order for more staff and visitors to park there instead of on the street, and thus free up space for Three Crowns employees to park on Colfax:
1. I do not approve of spending taxpayer money to solve Three Crowns' parking problem.
2. I do not approve of a plan which openly considers residential street parking to be an acceptable solution. Why should Colfax residents, who have put up with school parking, be more satisfied with hosting Three Crowns' parking?
3. I do not approve of a plan which sacrifices green space on the school campus, unless it is truly for the benefit of the school.
Regarding the possibility of allowing parking on the east side of McDaniel:
1. I have serious reservations about the safety and traffic issues which we discussed, and I request that those be thoroughly investigated.
2. I discussed this proposal with Lincolnwood principal Beth Sagett-Flores. While she had participated in a previous meeting regarding the parking lot expansion, she was not aware of the McDaniel parking proposal. She shares my concerns about safety and traffic issues.
Finally, while Three Crowns has gained six surface spaces, fourteen spaces in the garage, and space for wait staff at Lincolnwood, there is still a significant shortage of spaces.
Parking on McDaniel may or may not be a viable option. I urge you to continue to explore off-site parking options. Neighbors were promised no employee parking on the street, and that is what we expect.
Thank you for your continuing efforts.
A Final Note -
If you're reading a paper copy of this report and would like to be added to the e-mail list for Three Crowns updates, please send a note to Rob Mark at email@example.com