'No decisions have been made' on Chicago Pride Parade despite survey confusion

Wed. October 8, 2014 12:49 PM by Andy Ambrosius

ald. tom tunney in 2014 chicago pride parade

photo credit // chicagopride.com

The massive event draws more than a million spectators to Chicago, but a new breakdown shows Lakeview residents would prefer the parade moved downtown.

Chicago, IL - It looks like just over half of Lakeview residents would prefer the Chicago Pride Parade be moved downtown.

That's according to a recent breakdown of survey results from the August poll conducted by Ald. Tom Tunney's (44th) office. The annual Pride Parade celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2014 and most recently drew more than a million people to the north side neighborhood. 

Despite initial survey results revealing respondents wanted to keep the parade in Boystown, a closer look at the numbers presented Friday on the alderman's website shows 51 percent of self-identified 44th Ward respondents want the parade to move downtown. That's compared to 55 percent of overall respondents who said they want to keep the parade in Lakeview.

And sixty-one percent of the more than 3,300 respondents said they live in the 44th Ward. But according to the alderman's office, this new breakdown hasn't caused a knee-jerk decision. 

"Over the next few months, Alderman Tunney will be discussing this topic further with fellow alderman, the parade organizer and city departments about ways to continue to improve the parade moving forward," Tunney's communications manager Erin Duffy told ChicagoPride.com "No decisions have been made yet."

Those other parade improvements include adjustments to police presence, crime, crowds and congestion, among others. They are things the Lakeview alderman said he is focusing on when the initial survey results were released.

"The survey indicated that Lakeview residents want the Pride Parade to stay in our community, but it also indicated that neighbors want to see real reforms," Tunney said in his initial statement. "The Pride Parade is a part of Lakeview's tradition but we need a larger police presence after the parade that reflects the size of the crowd and keeps our residents safe."

The survey, which consisted of 15 questions, including whether the person identifies as LGBT, actually lives in the 44th Ward, what the top concern is, and -- of course -- whether the route should be moved downtown. It currently snakes through Uptown, Boystown, Lakeview and Lincoln Park.

Over 24 percent of respondents cited crime as their top concern. Sixteen percent of respondents cited large crowds and traffic congestion as their top concern. Fourteen percent of respondents cited post parade activity as their biggest concern. 

Nearly 21 percent of respondents said that there was nothing wrong with the parade and that they thought it was great.

Lakeview residents believe that there was an adequate police presence during the parade (65 percent of respondents), but that there needs to be more police officers present after the parade (60 percent of respondents). Nearly one-third of respondents believe a stronger police presence would make the post Pride Parade experience better.

Just last week, organizers of Houston's annual Pride Parade -- citing increased attendance -- announced their parade would move to downtown Houston from the colorful Montrose neighborhood, where it's been held since 1979. 

Montrose neighborhood businesses owners have expressed concern that moving the parade will be detrimental to the neighborhood, a similar sentiment echoed by Boystown business owners.