A scenario for vehicle parking in Bronzeville

Eliminated Parking

Sharing vehicles became so common by the 2030 that fewer cars were being parked outside of people’s homes in Bronzeville. A few of the legacy vehicles are still around, but for most people it has become easier to hop on a shared ride or to use auto-valet. Membership into the CCP (Civic Cocirculation Program) makes sense for people seeking extra income, instead of letting their cars spend 95% of the time dormant, as in the past. Vehicle owners in the CCP can let their cars search for paying riders autonomously in neighborhoods that are underserved by the aging train system.

The few parking structures in Bronzeville have been slowly converted to transitory housing and workshops. Parking lanes on the streets are in less demand, so much of these spaces have been repurposed for rain gardens that also extend the pedestrian-oriented boundaries of city blocks. Remnant drainage utilities have been abandoned in places where newly planted zones allow for sufficient infiltration.

Old privately owned asphalt lots were often left neglected for years, giving rise to groves of invasive trees and habitat for large urban wildlife. Community garden groups formed to claim the some former parking stalls as produce gardens, subsidized by municipal maintenance budgets. East of Lake Shore Drive, the public lots that outlived their use were redesigned to close gaps in the Burnham Wildlife Corridor.

Dynamic Parking 

The off-shoring of vehicle storage to lower-income neighborhoods around the metropolitan area brought more cars to Bronzeville than ever before. Commuters to the Loop get dropped off at their offices and expect their vehicles to head miles down the road in search of free or inexpensive parking. Homeowners close to the highway and Lakeshore Drive entrances cashed in by leasing their old garages as premium secure parking. Aldermen and community leaders supported parking structure proposals, provided that the new structures integrated retail storefronts and services accessible to local residents.

A mixed-use resource center building at the corner of IIT’s campus incorporates a large grocery store alongside surface parking lots to distribute preordered goods into parked vehicles. Vehicle maintenance facilities and related training programs are positioned within the most popular parking areas.

Developers eventually agreed to install pedestrian bridges over 35th Street and additional access to the elevated Green Line in exchange for the removal of sidewalks, street trees, and curbs that impeded vehicle flow between parking areas and the street.

Buses and rideshare vehicles from throughout the region stopping in this area make use of off-street lanes that efficiently gather passengers without blocking traffic. People stroll along quiet herds of vehicles constantly shuffling vehicles within inches of each other while interchanging with the surrounding road network.

During prescribed hours, the vehicles are mandated through a locally encrypted auto-valet feature to reorganize outside of sport court and market stall markings on the pavement, layering new activities in the space over time. Vegetation and lighting spectacles define mid-block pedestrian routes between destinations that deviate from the Chicago street grid.

Tailgating and nighttime movie viewing parties focus on digital displays and extend pedestrian traffic into the roadways during special events, integrating the plaza outside of IIT tower.