WICKER PARK — Pigeons and people were in equal attendance this week at the latest effort to transform Wicker Park's southern gateway, the Polish Triangle.
One idea to have more humans than birds: Get rid of the "flying rodents."
Kapra Fleming, a volunteer with the Polish Triangle Coalition, said the neighborhood group wants to "relocate the pigeon population" to make the area more popular for folks.
Fleming says a dovecote — basically a structure to host pigeons — installed around the corner from the Triangle's fountain might entice the pigeons to hang out there rather than on the Triangle, where some people continue to feed the birds.
The dovecote would house nesting birds, and the effort could involve removing the pigeon's eggs and replacing them with fake eggs, which would reduce the population.
"It's been done in Europe," Fleming said, adding "we're looking for funding."
Pigeons typically breed two to three times per year, producing two eggs per brood (though San Francisco health officials, grappling with their own pigeon problem, say that overfed city birds can breed as many as eight times per year.)
Getting rid of the birds would help in the efforts to "change the culture of the Polish Triangle, make it more vibrant," said Fleming.
Currently, "Tuesdays at the Triangle," a weekly event featuring a changing roster of local music, food and performances, is aimed at bringing more people to the approximately 10,000-square-foot island at the intersection of Division Street and Milwaukee and Ashland avenues. The gatherings are held 6 p.m-8 p.m. every Tuesday through Sept. 24.
A taxpayer-funded "placemaking study" in 2010 solicited community input on how to turn "one of the most unsatisfying places" into a "well-used neighborhood spot." A 2007 Chicago Reader article described the triangle as "Wicker Park's Dirty Doorstep."
The main purpose of the Triangle is transit, with the busy patch of land hosting the neighborhood's only cab stand, as well as an underground entrance to the CTA Division Blue Line "L" station, and three bus stops: the No. 70 Division bus, the No. 56 Milwaukee bus and the No. 9 Ashland bus.
Many area residents said they want the spot to be much more than a place to get from one place to another.
"We want to occupy the Triangle. We can turn this place into a summer camp," said Wiktor Soroko, director of Multikulti, a nonprofit arts and culture community center at 1000 N Milwaukee Ave. in Noble Square, about one block south of the Polish Triangle.
For Tuesday's performance, Soroko booked vibraphone player Preyas Roy, who filled the air with vibrations and melodies that caused commuters to look up from their cellphones or take out their ear buds for a moment as they passed by.
Fleming, the owner of the House of Two Urns Bed and Breakfast at 1230 N. Greenview Ave., about one block east of the Polish Triangle, said the coalition of residents, business owners and local organizations formed about two years ago when benches were removed from the triangle.
Fed up with vagrants and homeless folks sleeping on benches, Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) removed the intersection's only seating in 2011.
Fleming said the removal of the benches was one of the first steps to "change the culture" of the Polish Triangle, as it left the homeless with no place to sit, save for the edge of a fountain in the center of the area.
The coalition now is trying to get the Special Service Area taxpayer district No. 33, which is sponsoring Tuesdays at the Triangle, to install a mosaic around the base of the fountain as well as a buy a cover to protect the fountain during the winter.
For a list of Tuesdays at the Triangle events, click here.