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Aldermen Set To Take Aim At Noisy Motorcycles

Ald. Brian Hopkins wants the city to install noise monitors along Lake Shore Drive to measure the sleep-preventing racket created by the motorcycles without mufflers.

Flickr/Ross Hawkes
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CHICAGO — Two aldermen will ask their colleagues on Tuesday to kick off 2020 by cracking down on noise made by motorcycles along north Lake Shore Drive and throughout the city.

Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) will finally get a hearing on the proposal (O2019-9420) he introduced more than six months ago to install noise monitors along Lake Shore Drive to measure the sleep-preventing racket created by the motorcycles without mufflers, which flock to the scenic road in the summer.

The measure is set to be considered by the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, which is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

A 2017 state law authored by State Rep. Sara Feigenholz (D-Chicago) permits the city to install the monitors, which are similar to the devices that measure the roar of jets taking off and landing at O’Hare and Midway airports.

After the monitors have been in place for 12 months, the data about the clamor will be compiled and released to the public, according to the proposal. That could help Hopkins and other North Side aldermen press the Chicago Police Department to step up enforcement along Lake Shore Drive.

But before those monitors can be put in place, Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) will press officials from the Chicago Police Department and the Office of Emergency Management Communications (R2019-740) to detail a plan to address the “swarms” of riders that gather to perform death-defying stunts for onlookers, and for others watching on social media.

In July, the City Council approved a measure (O2019-3944) authored by 42nd Ward Ald. Brendan Reilly to discourage drag racers by hitting drivers with fines starting at $5,000 and rising to $10,000 for each offense. 

The measure also allows drivers to be fined $500 per day if their mufflers are bypassed, which makes a car or motorcycle’s engine rumble louder than normal, a sought-after feature for drag racers.

Aldermen are also set to consider the appointment of Jorge Montes to the Chicago Police Board, which is currently searching for a replacement for fired former Supt. Eddie Johnson. A lawyer, Montes served as the chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board.

Aldermen will also consider the appointment of Gia Biagi to lead the Chicago Department of Transportation at the 11 a.m. meeting of the Committee on Transportation and Public Way.

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Aldermen will also weigh three honorary street sign designations:

  • O2019-9386 — a measure to rename south Halsted from 83rd to 82nd street in the 21st Ward for Clarence L. Shaffer Sr.
  • O2019-9407 — a measure to rename west 21st Place from south Paulina Avenue to west 21st Street in the 25th Ward for lvan de Jesus Reyes.
  • O2019-9404 — a measure to rename south May Street from west Cullerton Street to west 21st Street in the 25th Ward for Michael W. Gonzalez.

In addition, the Committee on Economic, Capital and Technology Development is set to meet at 1 p.m. to consider six appointments to Special Service Area commissions across the city as well as a Class L property tax break for the former Cook County Hospital building at 1835 W. Harrison St.

The massive Beaux Arts landmark is being transformed into two Hyatt hotels featuring 210 guest rooms with additional space for offices and shops.

The Class L incentive is designed to encourage the preservation and rehabilitation of landmark commercial, industrial, not-for-profit and multi-family residential buildings.” The incentive reduces the building’s property tax assessment levels reduced for 12 years, provided its owner invests at least half of the value of the landmark building in an approved rehabilitation project.