In NE area of Midtown, vacant property and changes brought on by redevelopment


Planners say of all the streets in the northeast sub area of Midtown, Linwood Boulevard is the only street to have a traffic count of greater than 20,000 trips a day. The area is the most heavily used area of the city in terms of transit services, with major bus routes connecting residents to jobs and amenities.

(Yesterday, we ran a recap of the northwest sub-section meeting of the Midtown Plaza area plan, which included the Volker, Roanoke and Coleman Highlands neighborhoods.)

Residents of the northeast section of Midtown, from 31st to 43rd Streets and from Gillham Road to Paseo Boulevard,  told city planners that this section of Midtown presents the most challenges of any area.  They also said changes along Armour Boulevard need to be addressed.

The comments came at the first round of sub-area meetings for the Midtown-Plaza area plan, which when completed will be a new set of city guidelines for land use, zoning, public improvements, transportation, housing and economic development.

One major theme in the discussion was the changes that have come since redevelopment of properties on Armour Boulevard.  Residents said it is hard for residents who live on Armour to cross the street, and that the redevelopment has led to parking problems along Armour. Some would like to see Armour become more bicycle friendly. One said that with so many new residents, the city should encourage the development of coffee shops and services that people could walk to.

Residents were asked to comment on transportation, urban design and land use issues. Planners also said that four plans currently guide planning in the area: the Westport Area Plan (1972), the Oak Park North Plan (1976), the Oak Park South Area Plan (1977), and the Troost Corridor Plan (1998). They asked what changes to those plans residents would like to see. Other planning efforts in the area include: the Green Impact Zone, the Chamber of Commerce Urban Neighborhood Initiative, Creating Sustainable Places Troost Corridor, the Manheim Park Development strategy, and the Manheim Park action plan.

Vicki Noteis, former director of the city planning and development department, said the previous plans have laid out valuable strategies for developing the area, but the city must follow the plans in order for them to be effective.

The planning team released an information booklet containing analysis of the area.

In the area of transportation, it says that like much of Midtown, east/west connectivity is poor and interrupted by barriers and lack of east/west streets. The transportation analysis found that Paseo Boulevard and Gillham Road in particular are barriers to east/west movement because of the width of the streets and the speed of traffic, and 31st and 39th Streets are barriers to north/south movement because of their traffic speeds.

They also found that neighborhood gateways, parks and boulevards, and streetscape improvements help define the character of the section. Areas like Martini Corner, Paseo Boulevard and Gillham Park offer unique design features, but current planning documents lack a consistent approach to urban design.

They also pointed out that limited neighborhood commercial services exist, with those goods and services mainly available on Troost, 31st and Linwood. And they added that 23 percent of land area is vacant, compared to 4 percent in Midtown overall. They say residential development opportunities exist along Troost and within the Manheim Park neighborhood.

The NE area information booklet

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