For years I’ve been writing about the need to revisit a former LaSalle Park Master Plan that would go a long way towards creating another beautiful waterfront destination in the city. During the Masiello administration, the park redesign was presented that was part of a community initiative that saw a number of group participants come to the table, including the Lower West Side, football leagues, softball leagues, Junior League, Waterfront Village, and Hispanics United. The end result featured naturalize shorelines, a realigned park road that took car traffic away from the water, a picnic grove, an International Garden Festival site… the list goes on. Par for the course at that time, the park redesign was shelved due to lack of funds.
Recently, Lakefront Commons neighbors discovered that a new Master Plan is underway, and they are not at all pleased with the outcome. Now the plan includes a 36′ wide street section along the water with angled parking. The uninspired plan is nothing close to the imaginative plan that was once slated for the park.
Anyone who frequents LaSalle Park knows the amount of garbage and debris that is left behind on a regular basis. A visit to the park is never a pleasant sight. The addition of more cars, and more parking along the water will only increase this problem, and The City has never done a decent job cleaning up after visitors. Car culture has made it too easy to take advantage of the park. Once again, a wider roadway with angled parking along the water doesn’t solve any of the problems that the park currently faces. The water’s edge should be dedicated to cyclists and pedestrians.
It’s beyond disappointing that at one point we were so close to seeing a beautiful park heading for the waterfront. Instead we are being given a plan that has enhanced access for cars. According to one person that helped to work on that original plan, there was a “very strong and diverse community input into the [former administration’s) plan, which required many, many man-hours, meetings and was paid for by the City (taxpayers). In the end, all the constituents were very pleased.”
There will be a public hearing on this new LaSalle Park Master Plan on July 7, 2015, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at the Niagara Street Library (280 Porter Street at Prospect).
. Hopefully the community will come out to fight for a better plan that would create more of a park atmosphere, rather than a sprawling parking pad along the waterfront.
We have an opportunity to do something great here, instead of something that is dictated by lack of funds and uninspired imaginations. Take another look at the original plan that was shelved years earlier (see below), and ask yourself why we don’t deserve something better than what we are being presented now.