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Lakeview Residents In A Panic Over Polka Dots From 'Lincoln Hub'

By Jim Bochnowski in News on Jul 2, 2015 2:25PM

Picture via petition

It was a not-so itsy bitsy green and blue polka dot construction project.

Now the so-called "Lincoln Hub," which saw some Lakeview residents up in arms since construction began in April, has sparked some predictable NIMBY outrage and a petition to remove them.

The Lakeview Chamber of Commerce designed the "Lincoln Hub" and its large, colorful dots speckling the intersection of Lincoln, Southport and Wellington, to "foster more of a sense of community," as Lee Crandell, the director of the West Lakeview Special Service Area program told DNAInfo. Planning for this project began in 2013, after the Chamber received requests for a town square-like hub.

"Businesses wanted traffic calming, they want people to notice their businesses and creating more of a pedestrian feeling," Crandell said.

On every corner of the intersection, the Chamber of Commerce painted blue and green polka dots, giving it the nickname "Polka Dot Park." The project aims to slow traffic through the intersection by creating "bump outs" on every corner of the intersection, which work to "slow traffic to safer speeds while reducing the crossing distance for pedestrians by 34 percent," according to the project's website.

But even something as simple as painting dots on the sidewalks inevitably made some people on the North Side incredibly angry. Which is why one brave resident has created an angrily worded petition urging Ald. Scott Waguespack to "REDESIGN/RETHINK/RESCIND "POLKA DOT PARK." The petition has over 370 supporters as of Thursday morning.

The petition reads:

"As long time residents of the immediately affected blocks surrounding this "neighborhood improvement", we are shocked and horrified that such a SUBSTANTIAL change to the safety, traffic flow and VISUAL appearance of our intersection at Lincoln/Southport/Wellington was approved and implemented."

As the community meetings held in advance of this project are already long-past, it seems a bit too late to be so shocked by the dots. And to the larger point, slowing down traffic was the whole point of the project. It's safer for pedestrians and helps local businesses.

The petition demands that the Chamber of Commerce share data on how the traffic flow is supposed to be alleviated during non-summer months, and explain the reported costs of the project, which is described as "an eyesore and danger to residents / bikers and service vehicles."

We maintain that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so what serves as an "eyesore" to one Lakeview resident may be just a touch of character to someone else.