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Update: Lower Wacker Drag Racing

July 20, 2015


Two months ago, Alderman Reilly appealed to the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and Department of Transportation (CDOT) to identify infrastructure and enforcement solutions to help end dangerous weekend drag racing and skidding contests on Lower Wacker Drive in the New Eastside neighborhood.


On Friday afternoon, Alderman Reilly received CDOT's recommended infrastructure changes and he approved aldermanic menu funding for the installation of new barricades; speed-humps; and safety signage for Lower Wacker and requested the improvements be made as soon as possible. CDOT has indicated the infrastructure will be installed on Lower Wacker this week.


Based on recommendations from CDOT and CPD, the Alderman has also prepared ordinances for introduction at this month's July 29th City Council meeting to establish a "No Cruising Zone" in the area and a new late-night "No Parking/No Standing/No Stopping Tow Zone" along Wacker Drive between Stetson and Field Boulevard.  Both ordinances will provide the Police with more tools to prevent vehicles from cruising through (and gathering in) this area for drag racing.


Over the past several weeks, the 1st Police District has been responding to 911 calls-for-service related to drag racing and has also run enforcement missions on Lower Wacker Drive to issue citations for dangerous driving and other violations.


This past weekend, at Alderman Reilly's request, the 1st Police District conducted a comprehensive overnight mission on Lower Wacker - using a combination of tactical units and police overtime resources to assign 8 police squads to crackdown on drag racing and reckless driving. The mission lasted from late evening Friday until 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, resulting in a number of citations being issued.


Just 20 minutes after the 1st Police District concluded their mission on Saturday morning, there was a drag racing-related fatality on Lower Wacker. The incident involved friends in a Jeep and BMW, traveling westbound on Lower Wacker at a high rate of speed. According to reports, one vehicle swerved in front of the other, clipping its front end and sending both vehicles careening into support beams.


The driver of the BMW, Jose Luviano Jr., was transported to Northwestern Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The driver of the Jeep, Ivan Sanchez, was charged with one count of reckless homicide, one count of aggravated DUI, four misdemeanor counts of DUI and several traffic citations. Earlier today, Judge Chiampas ordered Sanchez held on a $150,000 bond with home confinement if he makes bail. He is scheduled to appear in court on August 7th.


On Friday, July 17th, the Chicago Tribune ran this story that included statements from Alderman Reilly, expressing his concern for public safety and worries that reckless driving could result in tragedy:


"Ald. Brendan Reilly told the Tribune he is pushing for 'strategically placed speed humps' and rumble strips, like those on the shoulder lane of highways, to stop drivers from racing or doing other dangerous stunts. He said he wants to 'put an end to this irresponsible behavior.'


"I understand people want to get their selfies and video footage, but at what cost?" he said. Reilly said he's seen a 'real uptick' of dangerous car activity in the past two years, which he partially blamed on Hollywood.


"I know this kind of behavior has been glorified by some popular movies like 'Fast and Furious,' but people need to remember those are movies with stunt drivers and controlled sets," Reilly said. "This is public infrastructure and driving like a movie star can end up with someone being killed."


Alderman Reilly extends his sympathy to Jose Luviano's family and hopes those who glorify and promoted illegal drag racing will learn from this horrible tragedy.


"I extend my sympathies to Jose Luviano's family and loved-ones for their loss - it was a senseless tragedy that could have and should have been avoided. And to those who still think drag racing is a crime without consequences: I'd encourage them to again review the details of this horrific incident and understand the profound impact this drag racing tragedy is now having on the Luviano and Sanchez families."



Message from Alderman Reilly on Mariano Park

June 26, 2015

A number of neighborhood residents have contacted my office recently with concerns regarding the Chicago Park District concession at Mariano Park. I am writing to provide you with some important details about the coffee concession - which is under the sole discretion of the Chicago Park District, which operates independently of the City Council.


For over 10 years, Whispers Café has operated at Mariano Park under a concession agreement with the Chicago Park District. This agreement is about to expire, which prompted the Chicago Park District to solicit Requests for Proposals and competitive bids for the concession operation in Mariano Park.

The Chicago Park District and their management team are now reviewing competitive bids and will choose the next operator in Mariano Park. As Alderman, I do not play a role in the selection of the concession or operator for Mariano Park; I can only advocate and provide input on the matter.


It is my understanding that roughly 10 bids were submitted for the concession - including "Shake Shack," "Gibson's on behalf of Ralph Lauren" and "Whisper's Café." I also understand some of the bids submitted to the Park District would call for prepared meals and liquor.


As Alderman, I do play a key role in the liquor licensing process in the 42nd Ward. Please note that I will not support a liquor license in Mariano Park. Further, I do not support a cooking operation in the Park, which would require a much larger structure and far more frequent food deliveries and larger volumes of trash that accompany a prepared meal program.


I also have concerns regarding the larger building footprints that have been proposed for Mariano Park. I believe that the concession structure should be of a size similar to the existing, full footprint of the coffeehouse and outside vending envelope in the Park. I am sharing these concerns with Superintendent Mike Kelly of the Chicago Park District.


I strongly encourage you to contact the Chicago Park District to communicate your concerns regarding the future Mariano Park concession, as this is the agency with the jurisdiction over such matters.


You can­ call the Chicago Park District at: (312) 742-7529 or e-mail Mr. Michael Kelly, the General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District at: michael.kelly@chicagoparkdistrict.com.


It is my pleasure and honor to serve as 42nd Ward Alderman. I look forward to working with you in the future to help keep downtown Chicago a great place to live, work and play.



City Vehicle Sticker and Residential Permit Parking Reminders

June 17, 2015


Purchase Your City Sticker Online:

The easiest and fastest way to get your vehicle sticker is buying online. Use EZ>BUY to purchase new 2015 Chicago City Vehicle Stickers or Chicago Residential Parking Daily Permits online. You can either use your renewal form or your license plate number, street name and last name to pull up your record on file with the Chicago City Clerk's Office.


Please allow 10 to 14 business days for the delivery of Chicago City Vehicle Stickers purchased online.


Residential Permit Parking Information:

Chicago City Vehicle Stickers have the residential zone information printed on the annual vehicle sticker.


Residential parking permit (RPP) zones limit parking to residents and their guests during specified hours. This program helps to ensure that residents of densely populated areas have reasonable access to parking near their residences.  Vehicles parked in an RPP zone must display an RPP annual permit or daily pass on their windshield or they may be ticketed.  In addition, residents parking in an RPP Zone must adhere to any other parking regulations or restrictions on the street - including, but not limited to paying meters, adhering to rush hour or tow zone regulations, and street cleaning parking restrictions.  It is the driver's responsibility to read and comply with all the posted parking restriction signs.


Residents can check to see if their address falls in a residential parking zone by clicking here


A city vehicle sticker is not required to purchase daily guest passes. Daily passes are for guests of a RPP zone resident. The pass is valid for no more than 24 hours from the time written on the permit. All other traffic restrictions must be followed while displaying a permit. By ordinance, an RPP zone resident can purchase up to 30 daily passes every 30 days.


Please be advised that residents will need to bring a photo id with their current address or proof of residence (mortgage or lease, water, gas, light, satellite or cable television or land line phone bill), in order to purchase the annual residential permit parking sticker or daily guest passes.


Please visit the City Clerk's website for additional information on vehicle stickers and residential passes, or call them directly at 312-744-6770. 




Letter from Alderman Reilly Regarding Vacation Rental Applications  

May 21, 2015

Dear Neighbor,


Last week I attended the Zoning Board of Appeals hearing to consider the vacation rental application for 67 E. Cedar Street.  Although my objection was documented and reinforced with the Board and neighborhood residents since the first hearing in March, I felt strongly about standing in support of my constituents with concerns about the changing nature of their block. The transiency of "hotel use" along this low-rise, exclusively residential block is clearly incompatible with surrounding long-standing homeowners.  I am very pleased to report that the ZBA denied the application for Cedar Street last Friday.  


For those of you unfamiliar with the issue and the ordinance, I would like to share some important background.  I am the author and sponsor of the Vacation Rental Ordinance.   After nearly two years and 26 drafts, the city Law Department and I finally passed the legislation on the books today.  We underwent that painstaking process to protect downtown homeowners' largest investment: their residence.  I clearly understand the disruption of "hotel" transiency within predominantly residential blocks.   


And about the Zoning Board of Appeals: the "ZBA" is an independent body, appointed by Mayor Emanuel.  They review Specials Uses, taking Council input under advisement only. It is here that I appreciate the participation of concerned citizens, like those who attended last week's hearing to testify with me.  Community involvement at these hearings, is key.  They are designed for the very purpose of collecting neighborhood feedback in order for the Board to make an informed, responsible decision.  Up until the hearing for 67 E. Cedar, public turnout and submitted objection documents is typically low.    


I ask that those of you affected by this incompatible use now or in the future to actively participate in the public hearings.  The democracy of this process is delivered by the city to ensure the highest quality-of-life possible for you.  As your representative, I take issues like these very seriously and fight for the best possible outcome.  I am grateful to those who have joined me in this important work so far.




Brendan Reilly

Alderman, 42nd Ward 








Future Downtown Landmark Proposed
Commission on Chicago Landmarks Voted in Favor of  Marina City Landmarking

July 14, 2015


Alderman Reilly is pleased to announce that at his request, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks recently voted in favor of recommending Bertrand Goldberg's Marina City as a historically significant Chicago Landmark.


Marina City, view to the northwest, 2012


Marina City, located at 300 North State, was constructed between 1960 and 1967, and is considered an icon of Chicago architecture and urban planning. The Marina City complex consists of five interconnected but distinct components: two identical 60-story cylindrical residential towers, a saddle-shaped theater, and a 10-story commercial building, all of which are set on a four-story base with a marina fronting onto the Chicago River. With the exception of the theater, all of the structures in the complex are cast-in-place reinforced concrete construction.


This "city within a city," was the most ambitious and forward-thinking post-war urban renewal project in Chicago. It was the first development to layer residential, commercial, and entertainment uses into a dense high-rise complex in the center city.


Goldberg's comprehensive vision for Marina City introduced new ideas about form and structure and novel solutions for living and working in an urban environment. Marina City's success as a dense high-rise residential development anticipated the later transformation of downtown Chicago from a nine-to-five business district to a thriving and bustling residential and commercial community. The development's use of the Chicago River as an amenity was also years ahead of its time.


Marina City was the first planned development project in Chicago, and the first and largest federally-insured downtown housing project in the country. The scale and scope of the project was unparalleled at the time of construction. When they were completed in 1963, the residential towers were the tallest reinforced concrete structures in the world. Marina City was also Bertrand Goldberg's career-defining commission, catapulting him onto the world stage and solidifying his reputation as one of the most innovative architects of the twentieth century.


Stylistically, Marina City-in particular the designs of the residential towers and theater building-is an impressive and captivating example of the Expressionist Style within the Modern Movement in architecture. It marks the first built example of Bertrand Goldberg's use of the cylindrical form, which would become a hallmark of many of his subsequent designs.


Goldberg's design for the residential towers, which featured the repeated use of curving, petal-like shapes around a central cylindrical core, was unlike any design ever built in Chicago. The complex's location along the Chicago River only serves to heighten the visual impact of the towers, with their distinctive shape and rhythmic pattern of curved concrete balconies. Nearly 50 years after its completion, the buildings remain among the most distinctive structures in the City.



Alderman Reilly is grateful to the Commission on Chicago Landmarks for their leadership in the landmark designation process. The next step involves setting a public hearing, at which owners and members of the public may comment. Following the hearing, the Landmarks Commission will make a final recommendation, and if approved, the proposal will go to City Council for a full vote.


To learn more about Marina City, click here to download the Department of Planning and Development's Landmark Designation Report.  For more information about the Landmark Designation Process, click here.  



Chicago Riverwalk Attractions Opening this Summer!

June 3, 2015



The newest section of the Chicago Riverwalk recently opened, connecting the existing Riverwalk east of State Street to Lake Shore Drive. Located along the main branch of the Chicago River, the Riverwalk is being constructed as a continuous walkway and recreational amenity connecting the lakefront with the heart of downtown.


The three new sections are thematically named:

  • The Marina (from State to Dearborn), features a restaurant and area for boats to dock;

  • the Cove (Dearborn to Clark), offers rentals and other amenities for kayakers; and

  • the River Theater (Clark to LaSalle) will connect Upper Wacker to the River through a series of steps and a ramp designed to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers.

The Marina and the Cove are now open, and the River Theater will open in early June.


A unique lineup of vendors will provide dining, educational, cultural and recreational activities along the waterfront stretch from LaSalle to Lake Shore Drive for the 2015 summer season. The Riverwalk will also offer live music later this summer through the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).   

The following dining and activity vendors are confirmed and set to open in the coming weeks.

Lake Shore Drive to Michigan Avenue

  • WanderBikes
    Electric bike rental and guided tours
    485 East Riverwalk South- adjacent to Lake Shore Drive

  • Urban Kayaks
    Returning to the riverwalk, kayak rental and guided tours
    435 East Riverwalk South

  • Island Party Hut
    Island-themed food / drink, charter boat rentals and live music
    355 East Riverwalk South- between Field Drive and Columbus

  • Wheel Fun Rentals
    Will offer bike rentals for the entire family
    305 East Riverwalk South- immediately east of Columbus

  • Cyrano's Café & Wine Bar
    Returning to the Riverwalk, French food and wine
    233 East Riverwalk South- immediately west of Columbus

  • Mercury Cruises
    Charter Boat tours with the Chicago Architecture Foundation
    112 East Upper Wacker Drive

Wabash Avenue

  • O'Brien's Riverwalk Café
    Returning to the Riverwalk, food, beverages, live entertainment
    45 East Riverwalk South- east of the bridge

  • Bike and Roll Chicago
    Bike rentals, guided tours on bike, foot and on Segways
    316 North Wabash- Upper Wabash Plaza near Vietnam Memorial

The Marina- State to Dearborn

  • City Winery
    Food, drink and live music in the new section of the Riverwalk
    11 West Riverwalk South- State Street Side

  • Downtown Docks
    Transient docking for motorized recreational boats
    27 West Riverwalk South- Dearborn side

The Cove- Dearborn to Clark

  • Flanders Belgium Beer and Fries
    Belgium inspired beers and food
    55 West Riverwalk South- Dearborn side

  • Urban Kayaks
    Kayaking outpost for paddlers to escape the busy  river
    71 West Riverwalk South- Clark Street side

The River Theater - Clark and LaSalle

The final phase of the Riverwalk will begin this summer extending the River walk to Lake Street, with the following three themed sections: The Water Plaza (LaSalle to Wells); The Jetty (Wells to Franklin) and The Boardwalk (Franklin to Lake).


For more information, click on the following links to read the full press release and see the Riverwalk Dining and Activity Map.



Alderman Reilly Welcomes New Streeterville Whole Foods Market!

February 3, 2015


(From L - R: Alderman Reilly, Tom Marciniak, Edwin Morales, Laura Bucher, Matt Mell, David Schwartz, and Michael Bashaw)


Alderman Reilly participated in the official "Bread-Breaking Ceremony" last week to celebrate the opening of the new Streeterville Whole Foods Market at 255 E. Grand Avenue. To learn more about the store's unique offerings, click here to read the official press release.


The Streetervillle location is the first of seven new Chicagoland Whole Foods Markets planned to open in 2015. Another 42nd Ward store is scheduled to open Wednesday, March 25 in the West Loop at 1 N. Halsted Street.






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