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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
In this bust cycle, there has been some serious emphasis on repaving roadways and making them more amenable to pedestrians. The Congress Parkway off-ramp park just past the river is a great example of how putting the ramp underground can take previously unusable/car-only space can be transformed into pedestrian friendly zones. The same goes for the LaSalle-LSD reconstruction in Lincoln park which will return at least 3 acres to pedestrian use. But I think we can go futher than that.

1. Logan Square

Logan Square is the centerpoint for a rapidly getrifying neighborhood and is the center of a large transit depot with a blue line stop. Unfortunately the square itsn't that great becuase Milwaukee bisects it and makes it more of a median between large roads than a park. We can't put milwaukee underground cause the blue line is there, but I would propose removing altogether. They've done something similar to Lincoln in Lincoln Square and it helped thier neighborhood immensely.

2. Last 4 miles/ LSD extension

This is Burnham's vision realized on the North Side, unbroken parkland from Howard Street to downtown. Along with this, extending LSD woud have seriously good benefits, including making Evanston more attractive for buisnesses. It could also prompt the downgrade of Sheridan road from a county road to a neighborhood road, with parking and wider sidewalks. Also, significant portions of LSD being underground for this part could get drivers more used to putting more of LSD underground. Which brongs to my next one.

3. LSD underground for some if not all of Grant Park

I get this may bug some people, but it should go underground at least at queen's landing. It is the simplest way to connect grantpark to the rest of the lakefront. With LSD, the two are very much divorced.


Anyone has a pet project of thier own they are hoping will get the go-ahead or you think would be good?
 

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1. Lincoln Square

Lincoln Square is the centerpoint for a rapidly getrifying neighborhood and is the center of a large transit depot with a blue line stop. Unfortunately the square itself isn't that great becuase Milwaukee bisects it and makes it more of a median between large roads than a park. We can't put milwaukee underground cause the blue line is there, but I would propose removing altogether. They've done something similar to Lincoln in Lincoln Square and it helped thier neighborhood immensely.

i think you're confusing logan square with lincoln square.
 

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1. Logan Square

Logan Square is the centerpoint for a rapidly getrifying neighborhood and is the center of a large transit depot with a blue line stop. Unfortunately the square itsn't that great becuase Milwaukee bisects it and makes it more of a median between large roads than a park. We can't put milwaukee underground cause the blue line is there, but I would propose removing altogether. They've done something similar to Lincoln in Lincoln Square and it helped thier neighborhood immensely.
I never could understand why a huge roundabout has a major diagonal thoroughfare going straight through it. That whole intersection is a pedestrian nightmare. Why not put Milwaukee AROUND the roundabout like a roundabout is supposed to work? Gah, Americans and roundabouts... While I'm on roundabouts: on the neighborhood sidestreets, why the bleeding hell are the small roundabouts WITH STOPS SIGNS?!?!?! It's like putting a stop light and a stop sign at the same intersection! Ohh and Chicagoans, THIS is how you navigate a roundabout...not by turning left in front of it! Geez

Also, what do you mean "remove Milwaukee"? Lincoln isn't removed in Lincoln Square, it's just a one-way with low speed limit and nice streetscaping through the downtown area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I never could understand why a huge roundabout has a major diagonal thoroughfare going straight through it. That whole intersection is a pedestrian nightmare. Why not put Milwaukee AROUND the roundabout like a roundabout is supposed to work? Gah, Americans and roundabouts... While I'm on roundabouts: on the neighborhood sidestreets, why the bleeding hell are the small roundabouts WITH STOPS SIGNS?!?!?! It's like putting a stop light and a stop sign at the same intersection! Ohh and Chicagoans, THIS is how you navigate a roundabout...not by turning left in front of it! Geez

Also, what do you mean "remove Milwaukee"? Lincoln isn't removed in Lincoln Square, it's just a one-way with low speed limit and nice streetscaping through the downtown area.
I meant remove the diagonal thoroughfare of milwaukee from the Square itself and turn it into a roundabout. I wholeheartedly agree with you about it.

An alternative would be to put it beneath the square like they did with dupont circle, but with the el turning into the subway there it could be dicey.
 

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While you're putting LSD underground through Grant Park lets do the same with Columbus.


I personally have always been fascinated with the Cap the Kennedy / Cap the Ike proposals that pop up every few years. Very pie in the sky, but its nice to imagine West Town and West Loop being fully reconnected... and Oak Park returning to whole again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I personally have always been fascinated with the Cap the Kennedy / Cap the Ike proposals that pop up every few years. Very pie in the sky, but its nice to imagine West Town and West Loop being fully reconnected... and Oak Park returning to whole again.
Capping the ike seems a little pie in the sky, but the kennedy cap will become mare and more feasible as development in the west loop progresses.
 

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I like the idea of capping the Kennedy but I don't think its necessary to do the whole mile(ish) section from Van Buren/Lake.

However starting with some sections that don't have to account for on/off ramps which are also the biggest potential parcels I would like to see. That would be the parcels between Lake/Fulton, Van Buren/Jackson, and Halsted/Peoria on the Ike.

Also some true landbridges of at least a few hundred feet or more on both NLSD and SLSD that has auto traffic go below grade for small stretches would be nice. Not sure what type of draining or sediment issues that would pose though.
 

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Also some true landbridges of at least a few hundred feet or more on both NLSD and SLSD that has auto traffic go below grade for small stretches would be nice. Not sure what type of draining or sediment issues that would pose though.
Just more pedestrian bridges would be nice. The North Ave. pedestrian bridge is wildly successful... why cant we just skip the really expensive stuff and plop in more of those?
 

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3. LSD underground for some if not all of Grant Park

I get this may bug some people, but it should go underground at least at queen's landing. It is the simplest way to connect grantpark to the rest of the lakefront. With LSD, the two are very much divorced.
I think you're on to something here. I'm very much a pedestrianization-enthusiast, but I also do enjoy the drive on LSD from Hollywood down to Randolph. But I do think bringing it underground beneath Grant Park is actually a pretty nice idea, in order to reconnect downtown, Grant Park, and the marina right there on the lakefront.

While you're putting LSD underground through Grant Park lets do the same with Columbus.


I personally have always been fascinated with the Cap the Kennedy / Cap the Ike proposals that pop up every few years. Very pie in the sky, but its nice to imagine West Town and West Loop being fully reconnected... and Oak Park returning to whole again.
^^ These are certainly on my wishlist too.

Here's my wishlist (and this includes roadworks as well as transit):

1. Cover the Kennedy Expy from Diversey on down, all the way to the Dan Ryan

Bit of a pie in the sky, but I'd love to see the portion of the Kennedy that runs through the city's core be covered up....not necessarily cover the entire thing, but at least several portions of it to reconnect the Loop with the West Loop (and expand Chicago's CBD westward), as well as Bucktown/Wicker Park/Logan Square with Lincoln Park/Lakeview/West Lakeview, Old Town/Cabrini with Ukrainian Village, and so on. The covered section can be a boulevard-park corridor running through the city; similar to Boston's Big Dig project, the boulevard-park would be a 4-lane (2 in each direction) boulevard, with a park as its median. Industrial-use-only blocks currently adjacent to the Kennedy can be densified and converted into mixed use neighboroods. A right-of-way light rail line can also run along this corridor, connecting the new mixed-use neighborhoods to downtown, and the river east of the Kennedy cleaned up and deindustrialized and turned into a chain of parks along the river.

2. Cover the Ike from California eastward, and the Dan Ryan from the Stevenson northward

Reconnect West Loop, Loop, South Loop/Near South, UIC/Little Italy, Pilsen, Chinatown. Create -again- boulevard-parks running above the covered expressways, and densify adjacent blocks with mix-used neighborhoods. As with my Kennedy proposal, the boulevard-park would be a 4-lane (2 in each direction) boulevard, with a park as its median (similar to Boston), and maybe space also reserved for right-of-way light rail, connecting the neighborhoods to each other and with the Loop as well as with various CTA Rapid Transit and Metra Electric stations.

3. A Light Rail line or lines, connecting key points in and around downtown

Another pie in the sky, but it would be nice to have such a system -for locals and tourists alike- connecting the Loop, West Loop, North Michigan Ave/Streeterville, River North, South Loop, Navy Pier, McCormick Place, Museum Campus, Soldier Field, and Millenium/Grant Parks, as well as Ogilvie, LaSalle St Station, Union Station, Millenium Station, and various CTA rapid transit stations and hubs and Metra Electric stations as well. Light rail carries more people than buses, and could be given its right-of-way, independent of car traffic, so it can run swiftly. Part of the system can run along a pedestrianized/underground-ized Columbus Drive or LSD.

4. More CTA Rapid Transit lines, more frequent service, and add express trains

The proposed circle line is sorely needed. The blue line can branch westward at Division to serve western Wicker Park as well as Humboldt Park. The red line can branch westward at Lawrence, allow transfers with the Metra and brown line at a large new station that would merge the current Damen-Brown (CTA) and Ravenswood (Metra) stations, then the red line branch turns northward along Ravenswood, alongside the Metra tracks. To cover areas along the lakefront that are too far of a walk from the red and green lines and from the Metra Electric, the purple line can -from north to south- divert from the red line somewhere in Uptown or Wrigleyville, where it will run underground along Clarke Street, then beneath Michigan Avenue, then underneath Cottage Grove Avenue, before rejoining the red line somewhere in Chatham. I would also definitely add the Clinton Street subway to the network, which can then emerge above ground and continue southward/southwestward to serve areas of the South Side too far west of the green/red lines. I would also make the CTA rapid transit run more frequently during off-peak hours, but with shorter trains. And I would add several bypass tracks throughout the system and implement express trains on several lines.

5. Electrify Metra, integrate it with the CTA, and portions of it can double as rapid transit

Electrify all Metra lines, and separate then from street level within the city proper. Portions of the Metra network inside the city limits of Chicago can double as rapid transit. Metra trains can keep their current suburban schedules, but trains will run much more frequently inside the city limits of Chicago (and perhaps the inner-ring suburbs as well), so that that the system doubles as rapid transit. Metra stations near CTA stations will be merged into larger stations, allowing interconnectivity between the two systems. The Metra will modernize its fare system, allowing magnetic cards -like the CTA- that can be used on all RTA transit systems (CTA, Metra, Pace) as well as NICTD transit.

6. Create more public spaces

Chicago has great parks, but we need more non-park public spaces that both serve as meeting points for citizens as well as beautify the city. Aside from the sterile Daley Plaza, Chicago has no sizeable public spaces inside the city (as opposed to some of the park space along the lakefront that might qualify as a true public squares –like Millenium or Buckingham- but is out of the way and too far of a walk from any mixed-use residential/retail/restaurant district). There are a handful of tiny public squares in Chicago, like the charming little square in Lincoln Park on Clarke and Belden, or the one in River North bordered by Rush, Wabash, Chestnut, and Delaware. But more along the lines of New York’s Union Square, Herald Square, etc, Chicago just needs more of these public spaces throughout the city, or at least throughout the denser areas of the city. We need paved squares that are a bit larger in scale than the tiny ones we already have. They should have public furniture like benches and decorative features like water fountains, they should be well-lit, attractive, have some trees (but also have enough pavement to be a proper square, not a park) and these squares should serve as well-known points of reference.
 

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5. Electrify Metra, integrate it with the CTA, and portions of it can double as rapid transit
I'd LOVE to see this happen, especially with the BNSF. Some of those stops are just so damn close to each other...electrifying it would be so much more efficient.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
While I certainly think that capping the kennedy and the Ike are great plans, I want us to improve some smaller public spaces in our neighborhoods. That is doable.

Capping the Kennedy may be Rahm Emmanuel's Millenium Park, who knows but I want to see tangible improvements to our existing public spaces, most of which have evicerated by the needs of the automobile and the failure of 60s designers to understand the human element.
 

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The North Ave. pedestrian bridge is wildly successful... why cant we just skip the really expensive stuff and plop in more of those?
Because of ADA standards. The approach ramps now have to be so much longer than the ones on the Passarelle. Underpasses are geometrically much easier—but usually don't smell as nice.
 

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While I certainly think that capping the kennedy and the Ike are great plans, I want us to improve some smaller public spaces in our neighborhoods. That is doable.

You just reminded me of another thing I'd like to add to my wishlist. I added #6 to my post above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
You just reminded me of another thing I'd like to add to my wishlist. I added #6 to my post above.
Ah, New York Style public spaces...

Well, the block bounded by Clark, Ohio, Grand and Dearborn is currently home to a very ugly post office one story building.

I'm hoping the mayor can get this for the city and put in a really kick-ass park/square to be the focal point of this new developed River North. I think Alderman Reilly did have some plan for public space in this block.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It's been a while since I've been over that way. Can you tell me what exactly they're changing/improving/destroying?
They are taking out an on/off ramp the cuts off a decent sliver of parkland from southern lincoln park. They are refurbishing the pedestrian underpasses beneath lasalle in the park too.
 

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I'd LOVE to see this happen, especially with the BNSF. Some of those stops are just so damn close to each other...electrifying it would be so much more efficient.

The Diesel locomotives are already electric. They just carry their powerplant with them. I just can't figure why everyone wants to electrify Metra. The overhead powerlines from the southshore lines looks like shit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel-electric_transmission

Electrifying it would be NOT be so much more efficient.

Read up

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_electric_locomotive#Diesel-electric
 

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The Diesel locomotives are already electric.
The whole thing is still a heavy push-pull system which is entirely inefficient.

I just can't figure why everyone wants to electrify Metra. The overhead powerlines from the southshore lines looks like shit.
I love the wires. to each his own I guess.
 
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