Neighborhood Plan – Fulton Market Focus Group

This meeting is the second of five focus group discussions about the Neighborhood Plan, which is intended to be a vision for the future of the West Loop, one that promotes preservation, progress, and prosperity.  This meeting addresses the “Fulton Market Corridor”, the area bounded by Ashland on the west, Green on the east, Washington on the south, and Kinzie on the north (see image below). Click these links to review the meeting agenda and overall meeting summary.

Fulton Market Corridor

(click image to enlarge)

Review of Prior Studies

Matt Letourneau, NOWL facilitator for the Madison Corridor, led a review of prior studies in the West Loop, including several plans between the 1960s and 1990s that focused on redevelopment and rejuvenation of the area.  The review also included the Near West Side Area Land Use Plan (2000), the Central Area Action Plan (2009), the Fulton Market Innovation District (2014), and the Fulton-Randolph District Guidelines (2014), as well as the recently-adopted Neighborhood Opportunity Bonus.  In particular, the Near West Side Plan included several recommendations that are echoed today:

  • Low to moderate density residential development

    Fulton Market Innovation District – Land Uses and Building Heights

  • Neighborhood-oriented retail
  • Adherence to existing zoning
  • New development to retain the scale of the “existing building fabric”
  • Encouragement of “family-sized units”
  • A “step-down” in building height from the expressways

In addition, the Fulton Market Innovation District (FMID) prescribes height limits for buildings in the corridor, as depicted in the graphic at right.

Group Discussion

Meeting facilitators Lena Elias-Bluett and Patti Mocco let attendees through a review a series of discussion topics, identifying problem areas and potential solutions for each topic.  The group then prioritized each area through a voting exercise (topics listed in the priority order resulting from the voting).

Development Guidelines (Height/Density)

  • The existing Planned Manufacturing District in the Kinzie Corridor (PMD #4) should be retained.
  • The FMID called for building heights of “three to eight stories or more” for portion of Lake Street between Racine and Halsted.  The group called for a building height cap of 120 ft with a 6 ft setback.
  • Building styles in the Fulton Market District are predominantly brick and masonry.  Future developments should follow FMID guidelines.


  • Pedestrian walkways are poorly marked and should be improved.
  • Four-way stop signs with flashing lights should be provided on Lake Street between Morgan and Racine.
  • The proposed bike lane on Lake Street should be relocated to Fulton or Randolph.
  • There are multiple construction projects underway in Fulton Market.  They should be sequenced in a logical schedule that preserves traffic flow for residents and businesses.  Temporary stop signs should be used to increase safety


  • There is a shortage of surface parking in the West Loop.
  • Parking laws should be enforced to preserve available parking and temporary parking should be provided for construction workers.
  • The City needs to hold developers accountable for promises/commitments made during the community outreach phase, e.g., Sterling Bay providing all 300 parking spaces for a recent Fulton Market development.
  • The group discussed the merits of introducing resident permit parking.


  • Street cleaning (street sweeping and snow removal) is inadequate and its frequency should be increased.
  • There are too few trash cans in Fulton Market.  Additional trash bins should be provided.

Other issues, like parks and green space, public safety, community facilities, and schools, were briefly covered but not discussed in detail.

Next Steps

Input from the Neighborhood Plan focus group meetings will be summarized and aggregated.  Follow-up focus group meetings may be held to review the initial findings.  The draft Neighborhood Plan will then be distributed for review and adoption by NOWL and possibly by the local alderman and the City.


Thanks to all of the attendees for their ongoing participation:

John Balfe Howard Levy Andy Philipsborn
Ross DaReu Matt Letourneau Trish San Juan
Lena Elias-Bluett Dan Marning Greg Shapps
Pauline Grols Patti Mocco Jay Spainhsur
Nancy Herring Tammy Owins