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New "Polka Dot Park" Fails To Hit The Spot With Some Lakeview Residents

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Some residents in Lakeview have launched a petition drive to do away with the new Lincoln Hub, a so-called "placemaking" installation at the six-corner intersection of Lincoln, Southport, and Wellington avenues.

On every corner of the intersection, large green and blue polka dots have been painted on the streets and sidewalks – inspiring the nickname Polka Dot Park.

The Lincoln Hub was designed partly as a way to slow traffic through the intersection, and partly as a public art project intended to create a memorable focal point that gives pedestrians more space, and room for seating and landscaping.

However, some Lakeview residents want it gone, and nearly 300 people have signed an online petition, calling on Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) to have the Lincoln Hub redesigned or removed.

"From a visual perspective... creating 'POLKA DOT PARK' as it is being referred to in our neighborhood... is an expensive eyesore that has no place in our neighborhood," the petition's authors wrote. "Residents/business owners and affected individuals on the surrounding streets demand that the data about the traffic flow and plans for how exactly this is supposed to help us during non-summer months was thought through."


It's not so much the dots that have some people upset, it's that new streetscaping – including tables and chairs – have narrowed the streets, leaving cars without a left turn lane, and traffic backing up at the light when a driver is trying to turn left.

"It's stupid, and that is what has brought the community together, because we're all thinking the same thing. It's stupid," one woman said.

Not everyone feels that way, though.

"If it does slow down traffic, that's a positive development," one man said.

Some residents of the area have said cars have a hard time turning right, as well, and ended up driving over flexible plastic bollards dividing the road from the streetscaping.

"They've knocked down a few of these plastic poles already. They've put them back up, but (cars) knock them down," one man said.

However, slowing traffic is exactly the point of the polka dots, which were designed as part of painted traffic bump-outs, to help slow traffic, and reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians by more than a third, according to the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce.

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