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'Master Plan' Floats New Dog Park, Safer Wicker, Bucktown Intersections

By Alisa Hauser | February 14, 2017 9:49am | Updated on February 14, 2017 11:41am
 Design renderings of ideas for making the neighborhood more appealing in the next five years.
Wicker Park Bucktown Master Plan Renderings
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WICKER PARK — What could Wicker Park and Bucktown look like in the next five years?

On Tuesday, the Wicker Park Bucktown Taxpayer No. 33 District, a volunteer-led group which hired a team of consultants to update its 2009 Master Plan, announced its updated vision for the growing Wicker Park and Bucktown neighborhoods.

A dog park and coffee stand in a vacant lot on the south side of North Avenue near the Damen L station,  "re-envisioning the Milwaukee/North/Damen intersection to be balanced and safer for all users," adding public art and lighting to the Cortland/Ashland underpass, widening the sidewalks at the Polish Triangle and "maximizing open spaces via better connections and use of the 606," are among the many recommendations revealed in the plan.

“Talk is already underway to implement major improvements to our three six-corner intersections to make them more approachable to everyone, with the understanding that the adjacent CTA stops serve as the front door to our neighborhoods," Wicker Park Bucktown Taxpayer No. 33 District Commission chairman Brent Norsman said in a statement.

Norsman said that goal of the plan, seen as a guide divided into chapters such as transportation, community engagement and arts and culture, is to make community and public space "more livable and attractive to all."

The plan also includes steps to move forward with recommendations, suggested project leads and collaborators.

Screenshot from the "Transportation" chapter outlining suggested intersection safety improvements.

Following a year of community feedback and workshops and a dedicated website for the report creation process, the five-year plan "will guide the ongoing efforts of WPB SSA #33 and the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce," the commission said in a news release.

Headquartered at 1414 N. Ashland Ave, the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce is the administrator of the Wicker Park Bucktown Taxpayer No. 33 District, which levies a special tax on property owners for communal services such as snow and graffiti removal. 

A full copy of the Wicker Park Bucktown Master Plan, by urban planning and design firm Teska Associates in collaboration with businesses, neighborhood organizations and three aldermen whose wards include portions of Wicker Park Bucktown is available for download at wickerparkbucktown.org/plan.

The previous 2009 Wicker Park Bucktown Master Plan received the American Planning Association’s National Planning Excellence Award for Public Outreach. That plan identified "neighborhood values," such as "drive less, bike more, buy local, go green, inhabit the sidewalks, indulge in urban eye candy, honor the past, welcome a progressive future, and do so as a unified community."

The amount spent on the plan was $75,000, according to a spokeswoman, who said that reflects all of Teska’s work, including consulting, the public website (www.WPBForward.org), multiple community engagement events throughout 2016, neighborhood outreach, interviews with major stakeholders and the creation of the plan itself.

Executive Summary on Scribd