The Trolley Survey Results
The Special Service Area #61 for Hyde Park has been exploring options for a free trolley service that would run along 53rd Street (from Woodlawn to Hyde Park Blvd.), on Lake Park (between 53rd and 55th), and on 55th Street between Lake Park and Hyde Park Blvd.). The goal is to enhance transportation options to support our local businesses.
So we decided to take a survey (now closed). There were 735 voluntary responses. It was not scientific—part of the goal was to see how much interest there would be in the idea. The main finding is that 91% of the respondents stated they would absolutely use (61%), very likely use (21%), or be somewhat likely to use (9%) a trolley. Over 80% said they would use the trolley to run errands, and 77% would use it to visit area restaurants. Both afternoon (72%) and evening (67%) were popular times of day, and Friday (75%) and Saturday (70%) were the most likely days. About 55% said they would ride such a trolley at least several times per week. Overall, 41% of the people who completed the survey were under the age of 30; 30% were 30 to 50; and 29% were over 50.
There were 259 voluntary comments offered, from negative to positive.
"I think a trolley is a foolish idea. It would add congestion. Keep attracting new stores and restaurants, provide limited but reasonable parking, and encourage pedestrians and bikers."
"This is exactly what Hyde Park needs to connect residents and visitors to stores and public transportation. It would increase foot traffic even in the evenings and create vibrancy which could be a great deterrent to crime. It would also encourage visitors to explore the retail corridors in Hyde Park thus creating more profit for the businesses. This would be an amazing step forward for Hyde Park to come alive in the 21st century."
The full report will be discussed at the next meeting of the SSA, held on Sept. 24, 7:00, in the conference room of the Hyatt on 53rd and Harper. The meetings are open to the public, and there is a period at the end where guests are invited to speak up and raise questions or concerns. (Remember the SSA can only spend money within the boundaries of the district. And yes, we want to figure out ways to expand this trolley to include the entire neighborhood.)
2014-15 Commissioners of the SSA
- James Hanson, Mesa Development
- Michael McGarry (Chair), Hyde Park Bank
- Mary J. Rogel (Secretary), East Point Associates
- Tony Fox, Harper Theater
- Gregory Guttman, Director of Marketing, MAC Property
- James Hennessy, Vice President, Commercial Real Estate, University of Chicago
- Allison Hartman, President, DARE Foundation
- Jackie Jackson, Kilwin's
- Charles Newsome, Kimbark Plaza Cooperative Association
- George Rumsey (Vice Chair), Computer Resource Center
- Donna Trainor (Treasurer), The UPS Store
Strengthening Our Community
As part of the Thanksgiving Holiday, the SSA plans to participate in a "Shop Local" program being sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and SECC. We'll also use this as a window in which to test the usefulness of a trolley system (maybe even trolleyS).
Used Book Sale
Don't forget to drop off your books in the basement of Treasure Island for the annual Hyde Park Used Book Sale. The sale always takes place Columbus Day weekend (10/11-12-13) in the Hyde Park Shopping Center (next to Treasure Island). Book donations are tax-deductible; be sure to request a tax letter from the sale sponsor, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (773-288-8343).
Frank Lloyd Wright in Kenwood
The Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference sponsored an informational forum on the Frank Lloyd Wright homes in South Kenwood in December, 2013. See hpkcc.wordpress.com for more information.
Affordable Rental Housing in HP-K
55th Street Accessibility
On Saturday, June 16, 2012, the Hyde Park Disabibilities Task Force sponsored a "Walk and Roll" down 55th Street, identifying issues of accessibility and safety. Read the full disabilities report