A Chicago architect has come up with a plan that would eliminate much of the free parking at Montrose Beach, a factor one alderman believes contributed to a drunken melee at an un-permitted concert earlier this month.
Ald. James Cappleman, whose 46th Ward encompasses Montrose Beach, demanded action after similar recent incidents, complaining that the beach allows large crowds to gather more easily than any other on the lakefront.
Architect Matt Nardella's plan seeks to eliminate what he calls "huge swaths of asphalt parking lots smack dab in the middle of prime parkland."
"There's about 9 acres of asphalt between those two parking lots and I think there could be better use for that space other than storing automobiles," Nardella said.
He suggests replacing some of the parking with additional green space, and reconfigurating the area to include:
- A cycle cross track using the looped paved driving areas to separate bikers from walkers.
- Trading out some parking spaces for additional bike parking and bike access points.
- Expanding the dock building.
- Creating boardwalk space adjacent to the beach that local food trucks could use without adding infrastructure.
- Adding metered parallel parking to Montrose, Simonds and Lawrence.
- Adding more Divvy bike stations.
- Expanding the bird sanctuary.
A Park District spokeswoman told the Chicago Tribune that Nardella's plan has not been reviewed.