Ald. Reilly & Hopkins Offer Compromise Street Performer Ordinance -New Proposal Reflects Input from Performers, Downtown Stakeholders, Attorneys
March 31, 2017
Aldermen Brendan Reilly (42nd Ward) and Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) introduced a new "Street Performer" ordinance at the Wednesday, March 29 City Council meeting aimed at striking a fair balance between the interests of the street performer community and the thousands of downtown residents, business owners and office workers who regularly complain about having to endure hours of non-stop amplified and percussive street noise.
"This new ordinance reflects many hours of meetings and negotiations with a diverse group of interests: members of the street performer community; their attorneys; downtown residents and business owners, some of our colleagues and representatives from the Mayor's Office and Law Department," Ald. Reilly said. "We believe this ordinance is a better, more equitable ordinance that balances these competing interests and could stand-up to judicial scrutiny."
The new proposal includes two components: (1) a new ordinance (filed Wednesday) that would establish a narrowly-defined boundary within the Central Business District between the east-side of Michigan Avenue on the east, the west-side of Dearborn Street on the west, the north-side of Oak Street on the north and the north-side of Van Buren Street on the south.
Street performers whose performance includes the use of a "bullhorn or electronic amplification, or a musical instrument or other object that is struck manually or with a stick or similar item to produce a sharp percussive noise," are allowed to perform within this defined boundary between 11:00AM - 1:00PM and 5:00PM - 6:00PM on Monday through Friday; and the hours of 1:00PM - 3:00PM on Saturday. This boundary restriction wouldnotapply to any performer who does not employ bullhorns, amplifiers or produce loud percussive noises.
"In meetings with members of the street performer community, we learned the most lucrative hours of the day to perform on the right-of-way are during the downtown lunch hour rush and the evening rush hour commute," said Ald. Hopkins. "This ordinance preserves those peak hours for noisier performers, while offering needed relief to residents and workers during the work day and evening hours."
In addition to crafting a new ordinance, Hopkins and Reilly are working to deliver on a request made by the street performer community: access to more public spaces away from congested city sidewalks in some Park District locations and CTA subway platforms. Currently, street performers are prohibited in all public parks and are only allowed to play on 3 CTA EL platforms in the City of Chicago.
"When I met with street performers last month, I asked how we could offset new limitations on noisier performances to help keep them whole," said Reilly. "The musicians asked us to help them gain access to some public parks and additional CTA platforms, claiming that those types of locations represent the most lucrative opportunities and would greatly benefit the performers. Park and CTA stations are very lucrative for performers because their audience changes literally every 5 minutes and many of those people are visitors and tourists who really enjoy it."
Earlier this week, Alderman Reilly and Hopkins met with representatives from the Chicago Park District and CTA to discuss the feasibility of expanding street performer access to more locations downtown that are either in underground CTA platforms or certain public parks that are well-buffered from high-density buildings.
"On Monday, we met with the CTA and Park District to discuss potential opportunities to help the street performer community and it was a productive discussion," Hopkins explained. "The Park District and CTA asked us to send a list of potential sites for "performance zones" in downtown parks and CTA stations. We have submitted that list today and look forward to working with the agencies to expand opportunities for street musicians downtown. We're seeking to memorialize a commitment to some new Park District and CTA locations by April City Council."
Alderman Hopkins and Reilly will spend the coming weeks meeting with their colleagues to discuss the new compromise proposal with the goal of approving the new ordinance at next month's April City Council Meeting. In addition, the aldermen hope to reach an agreement with the Administration, CTA and Park District to memorialize expanded street performer access to some public parks and additional CTA stations where they are currently banned from performing.
Click here to download of a copy of the new ordinance.
Wabash Avenue between Washington and Madison Now Open to Traffic as Washington-Wabash CTA Station Project Reaches Milestone
March 31, 2017
The Washington-Wabash CTA Station project has reached a major milestone today with the re-opening of Wabash Avenue, from Washington to Madison Streets, which had been closed since the start of the project for construction staging.
Once complete, the new station will replace two stations that date to 1896: the station at Randolph and Wabash, and the station at Madison and Wabash that was demolished before work started on the new station.
Scheduled to open in early summer, the Washington-Wabash CTA Station will be the first station on the east side of the Loop to be fully ADA accessible, equipped with elevators to the mezzanine and station levels to serve the Brown, Green, Orange, Pink and Purple lines that travel on the Loop elevated tracks.
Alderman Reilly would like to thank business owners and residents of the neighborhood for their continued patience during the construction of this project.
To read the full CDOT press release, click here.