Community Meets with Three Crowns Over Project Issues

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.

Rob Mark


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.


Meeting Synopsis

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.

Parking -
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.

Lighting -
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.

Landscaping -
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 -
Hello, everyone--

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.

Corky Siegfriedt

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

My husband and I are vehemently opposed to expanding the Lincolnwood School parking lot for the benefit of Three Crowns employees. The preservation of green space was repeatedly mentioned as a priority in community meetings several years ago. We certainly don't agree with the view that the green space directly across the street from our house should be limited because of Three Crowns' poor planning with respect to employee parking.

Since Three Crowns made a misjudgment, I believe it is only fair that they arrange to have their employees park elsewhere and be shuttled in--exactly as Evanston Hospital did when its former parking structure was unusable in 1999-2000. The Three Crowns neighbors should not have to pay for Three Crowns "mistake" about where their employees would park after the exapnsion; whatever the cost and inconvenience of Three Crowns' shuttling their employees in from a remote parking location, it is only fair that they should bear it . . . rather than only considering "solutions" which inconvenience and infuriate the neighborhood.

--Barb Rakley

I agree with you absolutely Barb.

In the last few hours over a dozen local residents have chumed in, all against any use of the local streets by Three Crowns employees.

Bad planning on the part of Three Crowns on a $55 million project is regretable certainly. But it is not the community's responsibility to help them fix this one.

We've already given plenty.

Rob Mark

I wrote a long letter to Jim Wolinski and John Burke at the City detailing my concerns/complaints in order to get on the radar but never received any reply.

My family lives on Pioneer Road and we have some of the same issues as other neighbors plus one additional issue: lighting, parking and noise!

In addition to the lighting problems mentioned on the other streets, the lighting from both the east building and even the new building on McDaniel shine right into our bedroom. The white lights on the McDaniel building are so bright that they travel across their entire property and go right into our bedroom. We have spent hundreds of dollars on new privacy blinds, but that still has not solved the problem and we need to buy drapes as well, I guess.

The area in front of our house has been a no parking zone since last July and became a tow away zone shortly thereafter. We can't park to unload groceries and my aging mother can't park near our home, even on Thanksgiving or Christmas, since those were weekdays. I was at the meetings when neighbors were told that parking would not be an issue because the old folks don't drive and those who moved in would get rid of their cars once they found out how convenient there location was.

Three Crowns has been having early morning deliveries at the service entrance across from our home and I have been complaining regularly for nine years. Susan Morse told me multiple times that when the new drive was poured, the big trucks could pull in (no beep-beep-beep from backing up) and then do a quick three point turn and drive out in forward gear. She said the beeping on the three point turn would be mitigated by either a downward slope to the drive (which would bounce the noise up instead of straight back to our bedroom) or by additional plantings. That has not happened and the trucks sometimes come as early as 4:30am, 5:00am, but mostly at 6:00am. During one of the big snowstorms a huge truck got stuck at the entrance to the drive and had to roar his engine and go back and forth for a half hour to get unstuck, beeping all the time. The started at 6am and ended at 6:30am.

I am so mad at Three Crowns that I am unable to attend the Open House without being incredibly unpleasant. My mother-in-law lives there and in many ways they have been good to her, but they are not good neighbors!


At the risk of sounding like Bill Clinton, I and the rest of the neighbors feel your pain.

On the lighting issue to begin with, Jim Wolinski of the Planning Development office was very clear with the TCP folks a few weeks ago because I was sitting across from him when he said this.

The light from TCP should NOT be shining past the boundaries of the facility.

Wolisnki said this is most definitely a violation of a city ordinance. The question is really when the code will be enforced.

TCP said last week they have a single new lighting fixture on order to test out, but that it will take one to two months to install.

That is certainly not good news.

I had not heard of this beeping truck syndrome recently although we certainly had our fair share during all the constuction. But at least that only began at 7 am each morning.

Having looked the TCP administrator and chairman in the eye, I wish I could say I really thought they understand the neighbor's concerns, but I can't say they have.

My guess is this is going to get worse before it gets better.

Liz Tisdahl is planning a meeting soon with neighbors to hear more. She is quite upset with the entire problem. I haven't heard any thoughts from Alderman Moran about this unfortunately.

Hang in there though. The neighbors really are united on this TCP problem.

Rob Mark
Three Crowns Community Action Group