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Added May 23 2012

I have noticed for some time now the removal of all vegetation along the Ravenswood Corridor. Was it necessary to remove all vegetation for the screening process? Were the living trees and plants transported somewhere else?

I noticed on the Alderman's website that they are planning on the "Installation of landscaping and other aesthetic improvements in recognition of community’s longstanding beautification efforts." I am just bummed that they had to remove everything and I hope I am not the only one that feels this way.

  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.

    Which section of the Ravenswood corridor are you referring to, Amber? Between which cross streets? Fortunately, I haven't seen anything like that along the stretch I drive most frequently, between Lawrence and Peterson. I hope the "improvements" won't spoil the landscape -- I find Ravenswood one of the loveliest streets in the city, because of all of the vegetation.

  • Amber Concerned Citizen

    The intersection is Wilson and Ravenswood, west leg of Ravenswood.

  • Amber Concerned Citizen

    Where is the community input?? They are stealing us green, literally!

  • Ralph Local Nerd

    It's Metra's property, they are making engineering changes to the bridges and track and this is how it goes. If you've seen the type of equipment they have been using to build the new bridges at Berteau or Sunnyside, then you know that they couldn't possibly work with the landscaping in place. Hopefully they will make good on their promise to restore landscaping to the greatest extent possible, but the community doesn't get to micromanage what Metra does with their property. The same way your neighbors don't get to say what you should do with your garden. All we can do is ask that they keep as much green as possible, which it looks like they are trying to do from the renderings of the project. This is a major capital project providing needed jobs and improvements to the Metra rail system.

  • Ralph Local Nerd

    BTW - If you see Metra's breakdown of the project: http://chicago47.org/wp-content/uploads/Board-4_Wilson_final-HR.pdf you will see that green space will ultimately be increasing as a result of this project.

  • Delia Kropp Loving Ravenswood since 1990

    Its quite obvious there is construction in progress including major drainage improvements. And Ralph is right, after the work is done green areas will be almost tripled.
    Better get used to major disruptions around Lawrence and Ravenswood. Three major projects - street-scaping, Mariano's construction (including new residential to the north) and a new Metra station are all in final approval stages with construction slated to begin this year. Lots of noise and dust and traffic re-routing I do not doubt.

  • Pete F. Lifelong Chicagoan, Proud Democrat

    Also, Amber, there were countless meetings held for community input on everything from the location of temporary stations, to street closure schedules, to, yes, green space improvements. A while back it seemed like Metra was holding a meeting a week.

  • Here's some info from Metra about the project:

    http://metrarail.com/metra/en/home/about_metra/capitalprojects/construction_projectupdates/UPNbridge.html

    It's pretty impressive to me that these bridges only have to be rebuilt once every 100 years!

    I think the vegetation (which really was mostly just scrub/shrubs/bushes, not big old trees) will grow back pretty quickly when the project is over and they re-green it. They need greenery along the embankments to prevent soil erosion, so it's in everyone's interest to return it to a green state.

  • Barbara in Ravenswood Ravenswood resident since 1984.

    @Pete F, just curious -- when and where did Metra announce those meetings for community input? I'm not complaining, just curious, as I must have missed the notices. I miss a lot of stuff :)

  • Amber Concerned Citizen

    The Alderman could have stepped up to the plate--The previous administration worked with the community when it came to the Metra station relocation.

  • What reason do you have to believe that "The Alderman" didn't step up to the plate? What kind of community contact didn't happen that you'd have preferred to see?

    The really nice detailed plan posted above is from Ameya Pewar's Ward 47 website. The same website has updates on the project: http://chicago47.org/projects/infrastructure-projects/metra-construction-update/

    I don't tend to pay attention to neighborhood planning meetings because I'm not (yet) a homeowner. But I suspect that people who want to be aware of such meetings would want to keep an eye on their Alderman's website and neighborhood association (e.g. http://www.ravenswoodcommunity.org/metra/). I bet there are mailing lists from both organizations you could sign up for.

    I know that at my workplace (Ravenswood and Montrose) we got fliers delivered that outlined the impacts of the project on parking and traffic flow. I'm assuming those were distributed throughout the affected areas and I'm sure they had contact info for getting questions answered.

    It seems to me that this thing has been exquisitely planned and coordinated and communicated as massive once-a-century infrastructure projects go. No changes to Metra's schedule. Planned improvements to drainage and public green space. No significant disruptions to traffic. Preservation of historic paving stones. Some of our neighbors reporting that they were consulted and felt heard. And 22 bridges renewed. The more I learn about this project, the more impressed I am at how not evil it is (I've grown accustomed to so many public works projects being boondoggles but this one seems to be done right).

  • BillB A new 47

    Amber has selective memory. I think the former alderman only stepped up when residents threatened legal action. He was totally unresponsive prior to that. Metra will restore the "stolen green" once they are done. I called Metra and the new alderman to confirm. But I think Amber knows that. She is one of the handful of pot-stirrers left from the last election. Click on her previous comments and you'll see.

  • Asked some of the men working about the vegetation & they seemed regretful that it had to be removed, but explained well the safety issues with preserving it while keeping the line open at the same time they are moving the tracks & rebuilding the bridges.

    Something I'd not thought of was that replanting the plants elsewhere could inadvertently relocate any unsafe materials absorbed from the passage of trains over the decades. Track fires such as in Evanston on May 4 & on the CTA today are also an ongoing risk.

    They assured me they're to protect the historic cobblestone that runs from the underpass at Sunnyside to Wllson on the west side.

  • jeff f life time neighborhood resident

    Most of what was formally discussed at public meetings was driven and presented by the RCC, the Ravenswood Community Council, the only survivor of the Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, some would say a subsituary of the Gene Schulter political Machine. There was a public meeting held about the location of the new station, which was to be on the North side of Larwence. The neighbors over there beat Schulter back and I think that was when legal action was threatened. Now it is going on the Southside.

    While I believe the final landscape will come back to levels that they were, more needs to be done in way of what this area can be and will become, and that has not taken place.

    The rebuilding of the bridges and the new station could be a catylist for renewal and development, but sadly that discussion has not happened. Yes there will be a new grocery store going up, but will it benefit only the neighbors, or will the commuters stay and enjoy and see and spend in the area. We have not heard a specific report on where differnt items are at, such as the Marino's and residential project behind it. In the works, does not count as a report. Sears, will be losing its lot for shoppers and I assume that something was worked out with the buyers of the old to provide something. But....

    The Street scape is moving forward, to help capture and retain the present businesses and grow more, but no plan is in place on where to park for these businesses while the street scape takes place. These business could fold because of that. On West Ravenswood, countless amounts of parking spaces are permitted to only the businesses there, some of which do not need this special access to parking since their numbers don't justify the need.

    A survey of what, on street parking, the businesses on Ravenswood need, needs to be done and the rest needs to be open to the public and commuters to make the area a retail haven.

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