LINCOLN SQUARE — The Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce is looking for “urban planning nerds” to help collect data on how people use parking in and around the Lincoln Avenue commercial corridor.
The chamber is working with association management agency Big Buzz Idea Group to assess parking supply and demand along North Lincoln Avenue between West Lawrence and West Montrose avenues, as well as along side streets near that commercial strip.
Volunteers are needed to go out and count the availability of parking spaces during the day on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday as part of the study, said Ian Tobin, the chamber’s vice president and director of community development.
“Anyone who is an urban planning nerd who would like to help us collect data on our parking inventory, on our website we have a link to a sign-up page where they can sign up for a shift,” Tobin said.
Neighbors who volunteer will receive a brief training and then go into the neighborhood to tally up how and when the current parking in the area is being used, Tobin said.
Volunteers will conduct a second tally of parking space usage around the holiday season, Tobin said.
The data will be combined with customer zip code data from participating businesses as well as information from an online survey of residents and shoppers on how they use parking in the neighborhood, Tobin said.
The chamber is aiming to publish a report in February based on the data collected that notes “parking trends, average parking, occupancy and then turnover during these different seasons,” Tobin said. “And then we can bring that report to our policymakers in our community so then they can base these conversations in facts and not just perceptions.”
Tobin said a traffic study is needed due to the rise in developers pitching projects to the neighborhood since the Lincoln Square Master Plan was adopted in 2019.
The plan provides a roadmap for developers of building designs, businesses and other amenities that Lincoln Square residents, business owners and city stakeholders want to bring to the community.
Since the master plan’s adoption, developments like the Ainslie Arts Plaza and affordable housing at 4715 N. Western Ave. have come to the neighborhood, though the latter was almost derailed by community demands for more parking. Parking isn’t a priority for new construction near public transportation under the city’s transit-oriented development program.
The parking use report will supplement the master plan as another tool for developers, Tobin said.
“We use the master plan as our framework to be proactive when developers come to us. So instead of developers guessing at what the community would like to see or what the market can sustain, we’ve already done that work and thought that out for them,” Tobin said.
For more information about chamber’s parking study, visit this website.
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