Really?! – Sidewalk Rage II

Posted by on Apr 17, 2013 in Blog Article | One Comment

This entry is a continuation of a previous post I made about the “ped-peeves” I see on my way to work. I plan on keeping them coming as I see them.


Ped-Peeve #04 – Jay-walkers, at least the bad ones.

Jay-walking… I assume at some point we have all done it. By no means am I advocating that people jay-walk whenever they feel like it, but if you are going to do it, at least be reasonable about it. Make sure you are respecting the hierarchy of the street and know the risks. If you’re not going to use the designated crosswalk, where pedestrians have the right-of-way, recognize that you forfeit your right to not being run down by a car, bike, bus, etc. Nothing irritates me more than when someone completely disregards the oncoming traffic, like it is their right to just walk wherever they want, whenever they want. If as a pedestrian you are forcing a vehicle to slow down, or worse yet stop, in the middle of the street, you are definitely in the wrong. At least have the common sense to wait for a lull in traffic or go to the crosswalk that’s probably only 100 feet down the street. To confirm, I’m not advocating jay-walking, I've been told it’s illegal?!



Ped-Peeve #05 – Crosswalk standoff.

Similar to intersection jamming (which I talked about in my previous post), I also see a lot of vehicular crosswalk standoffs that could easily be avoided. The most common is when a vehicle tries to make an aggressive turn, just short of the crosswalk, and creeps forward to beat the pedestrians trying to cross. There’s no better feeling than wondering whether I’m about to get run down or not. It’s maddening! Pedestrians have the right-or-way in the crosswalk, but these “important” drivers seem to think otherwise.  New crosswalk enhancements, like “pedestrian priority signalization”, are starting to pop up around the City. I think they are great, instead of matching the timing of the green light and pedestrian walk sign, pedestrians are given a 3-5 second head start. This allows pedestrians the chance to start walking across the street before a car tries to gun if off the line and beat them on the turn. It may seem like an unnecessary enhancement, but it makes a huge difference in reaffirming the concept that pedestrians have the right-of-way.



Ped-Peeve #06 – Groups-stink.

This one happens quite a bit. Regardless of how large the sidewalk is, a group of people will almost always spread out to take it completely over. I get it, everyone wants to be part of the conversation, no one wants to be left out. But when that group doesn’t make an effort to “tighten up” for oncoming pedestrians heading towards them, it really frustrates me. Why does a single person have to be the one to take to the street to make the pass around an inconsiderate group? I would love to see someone just barrel through a group like bowling pins, but it’s a risky move. The group obviously has the numbers and things could escalate quickly. If you are a part of a large group who has taken over a sidewalk, try to fight the urge of spreading out. Walk in smaller groups, or something, just doesn’t block the entire sidewalk. Some of us are trying to get somewhere without having to resort to jumping into the streets!



2013 APA Conference

Posted by on Apr 10, 2013 in Headlines | No Comments

This year’s American Planning Association’s National Conference is being held right in our own backyard. To welcome fellow planners from across the country and help Chicago put its best foot forward, we decided to put even more effort than usual into our activities this year. Make sure you catch up with us at our presentations and mobile workshops, our exhibitor booth, or one of the scheduled social events.

HLA Attendees

  • John Houseal – Principal and co-founder
  • Devin Lavigne – Principal and co-founder
  • Dan Gardner – Principal Associate
  • Doug Hammel – Senior Associate
  • Brandon Nolin – Senior Associate
  • Nik Davis – Senior Associate
  • Ira Mabel – Associate
  • Danielle Ross – Marketing Coordinator


New Tools for Zoning and Development Visualization
HLA Presenters: Devin Lavigne and Nik Davis
Date and Time: Sunday April 14, 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm

Plans almost always include figures and photos to explain concepts and recommendations. Now zoning ordinances, design guidelines, and other regulatory tools are starting to follow suit. Learn about specific tools and techniques you can use to introduce graphics into codes and ordinances to make them more comprehensible. And gain a stronger understanding of how the move towards an online, transparent government has changed who is reading (and using) these documents.

Dissecting a Commercial Corridor
HLA Presenters: John Houseal and Devin Lavigne
Date and Time: Monday April 15, 10:30 am – 11:45 am

What are the issues and challenges associated with corridor planning? This session focuses on Ogden Avenue—a commercial corridor that passes through the Chicago region—to answer that question. Learn how this corridor has developed over six decades and how planners are retrofitting it to promote pedestrian access and cultivate a stronger sense of place.

Fast, Funny, and Passionate 2 & 3
HLA Presenter: Doug Hammel; Devin Lavigne
Date and Time: Monday April 15, 4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.; Tuesday April 16, 7:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

These short, timed, 7-minute presentations take up overlooked topics in planning or delve into a passionate perspective on why planning matters. Hear planners open up about what excites them. Presenters discuss case studies, present personal perspectives, or provide an imaginative insight into planning. HLA's Doug Hammel will present “What is it we do again?!?” in session 2, and Devin Lavigne will present "Bad City Logos” in session 3.

AICP Examination Preparation (session registration required)
HLA Presenters: John Houseal, Devin Lavigne, Doug Hammel, and Brandon Nolin
Date and Time: Saturday April 14, 7:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.

Prepare for the AICP exam with the help of chapter professional development officers who offer tips and focused training in the exam format, content, and topic areas. Learn about the application process and gain insights for success.

Mobile Workshops

Lasting Legacy of the Columbian Exposition (session registration required)
HLA Presenters: Doug Hammel
Date and Time: Monday April 15, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City highlights the tremendous impact of the Columbian Exposition, the event that brought planning to the forefront of urban development. See firsthand how this event defined the long-term growth of Hyde Park and Woodlawn—and how current development in those communities strives to balance contemporary practices with historic character. Stops include the Rookery Building (site of Burnham’s office) and many exposition sites.

Planners’ Day Off (session registration required)
HLA Presenters: Brandon Nolin
Date and Time: Monday April 15, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Follow in the footsteps of the characters in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and tour several of the sites they visited in this 1986 film. Learn about the real planning issues pertaining to iconic Chicago sites like Wacker Drive (sorry, no Ferraris on this trip) and the Chicago Riverwalk, Sears Tower (now Willis tower), Federal Plaza and State Street (route of the movie’s “Von Steuben Day Parade”) and Grant Park (home of the Art Institute and Millennium Park); explore the complex planning challenges a dynamic city like Chicago presents; and gain a deeper understanding of Chicago’s planning landscape.

Planning is a Team Sport (session registration required)
HLA Presenters: Dan Gardner
Date and Time: Tuesday April 16, 11:30 am – 4:00 pm

Explore the environs of three of Chicago’s major sports venues—Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field, and the United Center—and learn how each venue has influenced surrounding development, including transportation enhancements. Discuss the challenges and opportunities planners encounter in balancing the needs of an existing neighborhood with the development potential presented by these venues and see how activity generators can serve as catalysts for neighborhood revitalization.

HLA Exhibitor Booth

Once again, HLA is an active sponsor of the APA, and will be hosting a booth in the exhibit hall. Come by to check out what’s been going on at HLA recently and to challenge us at our official office pastime, bubble hockey.