Uptown is a great neighborhood to jog in. I have lived in Uptown for nearly 10 years and have run along nearly all of its streets, through its parks, past its captivating architecture. Uptown is great for running for many reasons, not the least of which is its proximity to the lake. Also, there is Challenger Park, the two cemeteries (great for jogging! but try to respectfully keep your distance from any funerals), and Clarendon Park. And runners increase tax revenue with no wear and tear on infrastructure. The economic impact may be unexpected: a group of running buddies and I would habitually go for a weekend jog and then eat breakfast at the Uptown Snack Shop (our favorite, too bad it closed!) or other neighborhood restaurants.
I have never had any issues as a female runner, usually running alone, but there are certainly intersections I avoid. I avoid them because I feel they are unpleasant, even dangerous, due to the amount of vehicle traffic and confusing signals. In particular, I am thinking of the intersection of Montrose, Broadway, and Sheridan. As a neighborhood runner, there are things I wish could be improved, primarily crosswalk stripping and enforcement at stop signs. These improvements would help all sidewalk-users, as well as bicyclists.
I have long felt Uptown is a too-well kept secret. People seem to focus on the shootings, the homeless, the mentally ill. I love Uptown because it is urban, it is diverse, and it has a long and interesting history unlike any other neighborhood in Chicago. As I run along its streets, I think of the Jazz age glory days and Charlie Chaplin, I think of the Green Mill gangsters, as well as the pan-Asian influx that makes Argyle so vibrant. I think about the movie “Medium Cool” that shows the Appalachians who used to live in Uptown’s walk-ups in the late 60’s (and I am sure some still do). Uptown is all of those things and also quiet mornings with a sunrise over the lake, well-kept gardens, and bells ringing from St. Mary’s in Buena Park.
It has been my hope for a few years now that a running store would open in the 46th ward. I believe it would create a sense of community for the neighborhood joggers, similar to what Uptown Bikes does for cyclists. I also think it would attract active people from outside the ward to shop and experience this well-kept secret. I challenge our Chambers of Commerce and our Aldermanic office to attract such a business.
posted by Eve Jennings