As you may have heard, Jefferson Park is embarking on a station area master plan for the area surrounding the Jefferson Park Transit Center. Alderman John Arena (45th) submitted an application to the Regional Transportation Authority’s Community Planning grant program last year and our community was accepted into this grant program for the 2017 fiscal year. The master plan’s cost is $125,000, of which the City of Chicago is providing $25,000 as a local match. The City of Chicago has contracted with Teska Associates as the lead planning consultant on the study. Other sub-consultants involved with the master plan include Kretchmer Associates (market research), Metro Strategies (communication and outreach) and Sam Schwartz Transportation Consultants (transportation). A project website has been established where one can seek out documents, add a name to the email list or submit ideas.
The master plan will be led by a steering committee comprised of three groups: a Residents Resource Group, a Business Resource Group and a Technical Advisory Committee. Jefferson Park Forward is represented by our president, Ryan Richter, and our Director and chair of the JPF Community Development Committee, Susanna Ernst, on the Residents Resource Group. Our job as representatives of JPF is to make sure our members and community is aware of the plan and is provided opportunities to provide input either indirectly (through JPF as your representative) or directly (via direct public participation). Our goal is to provide as much information as we can to as many of our members and the broader community as possible.
Below, we will answer some questions you might have on the plan to the best of our knowledge. These questions may be updated as the planning process moves forward.
What is a master plan?
The Jefferson Park Station Area Master Plan is a transit-oriented development plan that seeks to make recommendations to guide the City on public transportation enhancements and improvements around the Jefferson Park Transit Center, on residential, commercial and/or retail development, and pedestrian, bike and vehicle improvements.
Why does Jefferson Park need a master plan? Don’t we already have one?
A master plan does a couple of things. First, if done right, it drives community consensus towards a shared future. That is, it provides a vision shared by the community of the future. This is useful in prioritizing capital investments as well as informing future developers what community expectations are.
There have been planning efforts done in the past, most recently in 2008. Our understanding of previous planning efforts is that they involved very little public participation.
How will this plan be different?
While this plan seeks to study roughly the same area as previous plans did, the things that make this planning effort different are a robust community engagement program and eventual adoption of the plan by the City Council. Adoption of the plan is key because it adds legitimacy to the plan, particularly when it comes to land use decisions (zoning) and transportation improvements. The community engagement part of the program, led by consultants Metro Strategies, involves two public meetings. The first meeting will be to solicit community input about wants and needs. A second meeting will be held to provide input on a draft plan. In between, the consultants are seeking to meet with community groups like ours and other neighborhood organizations. JPF has already extended an offer to the consultants to meet with us at one of our general meetings or at least with our Community Development Committee.
What area does the plan study exactly?
The plan’s study area is shown in the map below.
The market area is used for compiling statistics from the Census and other aggregators. Information like real estate values, population, households, income, education and transportation statistics will be gathered at the market level. Plan recommendations are to be confined to the study area only.