Sidewalk Plaque: Right of Access

On Friday, I was walking back from lunch with Christine when I noticed a small plaque embedded in the sidewalk, just outside the Northernmost entrance of Chase Tower.

The message is carve into metal, and embedded into the sidewalk. The text of it reads:

Right of Access By Permission And Subject to Control of Owner
Property Line

I spotted another embedded sign on the NW corner of Madison and Dearborn, with the same text but featuring two intersection lines, indicating the property border. My guess is that this sign is some kind of legal requirement or protective thing, and it ended up being cheaper to simply jam the thing into the sidewalk (versus creating some kind of signage that might need repair).

In terms of what exactly this might mean legally, I found an interesting post by Ronald Richman that seems to summarize what’s going on:

In both residential and commercial properties, one way that you can protect against someone obtaining an easement on your property, i.e., obtaining a right to use your property without your consent, is by posting a sign that states that the right to pass by your property is by your permission.

In a city like Chicago, there’s always something that clamors for your attention – the movement of pedestrians and cars around you, the towering buildings above you. But it was surprising to me to find this small bit of text, seemingly appearing out of nowhere. How many others have noticed this, I wonder? How many more have overlooked it?

It’s a little hard to spot but you can see it, right in front of the rotating doors, in this view on Google Maps.

Sidewalk Mechanically Heated
Sidewalk Flower, State and Jackson
Moran Cerf: On Robbing Banks and Saying Yes

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