Sunday, August 13, 2006

24 hour city

After the meeting, Mayor Ed Schock said he first heard complaints from residents about Tacos La Flor during last week's National Night Out festivities. He said he is taking the issue seriously.

If it chose, Schock said, the city could pass an ordinance that would limit the hours of restaurants such as Tacos La Flor. (Elgin Courier 8/11/06)

There goes the 24 hour city.

Actually, the best thing would probably be to encourage a "24 hour district" in the downtown. This is one of Christopher Alexander's patterns (#33):

Conflict

Most of the city's activities close down at night; those which stay open won't do much for the night life of the city unless they are together.

Resolution

Knit together shops, amusements, and services which are open at night, along with hotels, bars and all night diners to form centers of night life: well-lit, safe and lively places that increase the intensity of pedestrian activity at night by drawing all the people who are out at night to the same few spots in the town. Encourage these evening centers to distribute themselves evenly across the town. (source: A Pattern Language website)
Identifying and encouraging such a district in the downtown would also make it appear safer. Many of the people who go to downtown Elgin and think it's unsafe think that because the streets are empty. People everywhere are afraid of empty streets. Fill the streets with people! Designate a "24hr district" or a "nightlife district!"

3 Comments:

Blogger Cedar said...

I worked at a 24 hour restaurant (the now defunct Manor Pancake House) when I was in my early twenties (in the late 70's) and don't see a problem with such an establishment in Elgin. Sure, we had drunken customers tossing cold hashbrowns at the overworked, tired waitstaff, but it was a job...

As I have implied before, I believe Schock's Elgin is bordering an atmosphere of intolerance and near fascism. I've never met the Mayor (my mother thinks I'd like the man) but I think his rules are constricting.

5:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A nightlife district in downtown Elgin is right on the money.

This should be part of the downtown plans the city has developed.

9:25 PM  
Blogger The Elginite said...

Thank you both. The city has spoken of a "24-hr city," but it doesn't really look like they've done anything to encourage it.

One of the salient aspects of downtown Elgin is that it has a number of churches. In most cities churches coexist with other establishments, because they have different hours of operation.

In Elgin, the presence of churches has been used as an excuse for the city council to wield arbitrary control over the life and death of nightlife establishments in the downtown. The result is a stifling atmosphere that doesn't encourage entrepreneurs.

That's my impression anyway. I could be wrong.

Manor Pancacke House? Why does that sounds so familiar...when did that shut down?

7:30 PM  

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