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Key city vote on massive River North development pushed to 2018

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The One Chicago Square proposal will need a better traffic plan before it heads to the Plan Commission

2nd Ward

Originally scheduled go before the Chicago Plan Commission for approval later this month, the massive River North skyscraper development known as One Chicago Square will instead make an appearance at a later, yet to be determined date in 2018. Though the City of Chicago has yet to publish its Plan Commission agenda for the month of December, news of the delay was shared with nearby residents via an email notice from 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins:

The massive, two-tower development is proposed for the block bordered by State, Superior, Dearborn, and Chicago.
2nd Ward

[One Chicago Square] was scheduled to be heard at the December Plan Commission meeting. However, given the scale of the project and the ongoing collection of community input, I have requested the item be held for a future hearing, to ensure that we receive as much feedback as possible before allowing the project to move forward.

Furthermore, my office has received numerous inquiries regarding the project’s potential impact on traffic and congestion in the neighborhood. As a result, I’ve tasked engineers at the City’s Department of Transportation and Chicago Transit Authority, as well as the developer’s traffic engineering team to provide a detailed analysis of the project’s influence on traffic, coupled with solutions to improve conditions in an already congested area.

It is my firm position that traffic congestion is an existing issue at this location, and new measures must be developed and implemented to improve traffic flow at this vital thoroughfare, regardless if a new development is built.

Revealed by JDL Development in October, the One Chicago Square project would replace the block-sized parking lot across from Holy Name Cathedral with a pair of slender glass skyscrapers connected to a shared base. Designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and Goettsch Partners, the complex would include 850 residential units, boutique office space, a grocery store, event space, and a high-end health club. Rising as high as 1,011 feet, One Chicago Square would become the Windy City’s sixth tallest building—provided it’s approved without a height chop.

The aforementioned traffic issues were recognized by both the developer and alderman back when the project made its public debut. To avoid exacerbating congestion on State Street, the plan consolidates most of the vehicular access to Dearborn with the hopes that drivers would choose Clark or LaSalle as an alternative. The team is also exploring options such as reducing on-street parking on surrounding streets to free up more traffic lanes and investing in smart traffic signals on Chicago Avenue.

Alderman Hopkins says his office will continue to collect community feedback on the proposal in the meantime. The One Chicago Square presentation along with an online survey for residents can be found on the 2nd Ward’s website.

A slide from October’s meeting showing the proposed traffic circulation plan for cars [blue], delivery trucks [green], and CTA buses [red].
2nd Ward