Looking for a place in Lake View? Don’t bring your car.

diversey flickr user paul morganIs Chicago’s Lake View neighborhood poised to be the quintessential urban walkable community? With services like iGo, Zipcar, Lyft and other car-share startups, young people are finding it hard to justify owning a car in the city. Who can blame them when parking tickets range from $50 to $180 on top of city registration fees and zoned parking passes, not to mention the ever-lurking meter maid.

Lake View is Chicago’s second largest community area, but the most dense, with roughly 95,000 people living in about three square miles.

Neighborhoods like Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine, or OTR as the locals call it, are experimenting with less parking and its effects on community building. This article tells the story.

Cincinnati’s mayor is passing an ordinance which impacts parking, zoning, and in a much larger sense, density. The word is out that density and the resulting face-to-face interaction is real, and needed, and helps spark ideas and form collaborations. Many believe that in the future, where you live is going to be more important than it ever has before. Density and walkability are two of the largest factors impacting our consumption of natural resources and ecological footprint. These are things that younger generations care about. Chicago’s Lake View community has  one of the highest populations of 18-34 year olds in the country.

How old are the properties in Lake View? That depends on where you go. You can find whole streets of 1890s Italianates, greystones and various other walk-ups. Almost 20,000 houses in Lake View were built before 1939. For comparison, the area has seen more than 5,000 homes built in a decade only once in the last 70 years. It is safe to say that most of Lake View’s building stock is of the older variety – back when they used to build the character in.

Lake View is the neighborhood of choice for Chicago’s college students so there are a lot of small two and three bedroom multi-unit buildings along main streets that they occupy. To balance that out there are a fair number of single family homes on interior streets and town houses within a few blocks of the lake. Over the last year the number of single-family homes listed has dropped by 23%. Average sale price for single family homes has come up almost 5% over the past year. Condo units, of which there are many in highrises along the lakefront, have seen a 10% increase in new listing over the past year with an increase of 40% in closings in the past year. Average and median sale prices for condos have been nearly unchanged in the last year. Those who wish to keep their car and live in Lake View do best living along the lake with Lake Shore Drive providing easy access to downtown.

belmont stop

The neighborhood is well connected to the ‘L’ with a brown line stop at Diversey, a red/brown line stop at Belmont and a red line stop at Addison. The Clark bus and the Ashland bus run north-south through the middle of Lake View and make it even easier to navigate the city without a car. Bordered by the Uptown neighborhood to the north, Lincoln Square to the northwest, North Center to the west and Lincoln Park to the south, the nightlife options are nearly endless.

And we can’t be a preservation blog in Chicago talking about the Lake View neighborhood without mentioning one of the biggest projects happening in the whole city.

wrigley flicr user dgphilliWrigley Field is due for a facelift! As the Restore Wrigley website details, the owners agreed to do a sensitive restoration of the ballpark. The main objectives are to clean up the locker rooms, improve food preparation spaces and provide more restrooms. It will be interesting to watch the project unfold and to see the second oldest ballpark in the country get some new life breathed into it.

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