A new intermodal link at Congress Parkway and Financial Place, leading passengers up to Metra platforms, as viewed from the northwest.
If there were a contest for “best hidden train station in the Loop,” the dubious winner would be Metra’s LaSalle Street station. Have you ever tried and failed to find this station, or had to give extremely detailed directions to help someone else find it? If your answer is “yes,” you’ve got lots of company.
So why is it such a mystery?
Much of the signage directing “potential” passengers is small, placed in mid-block locations far out of visual range from adjacent intersections, and doesn’t follow the design standards of Metra signs. The station itself is tucked and hidden behind the Chicago Board Options Exchange; the platforms are also above ground with a single point of entry. This aerial view gives you a point of reference. Continue reading How LaSalle Street Metra station maintains hard-to-find reputation
Ever hear the phrase, “low hanging fruit“? It is the most annoying phrase in planning circles, and it abounds in all industries. It means to accomplish the easy stuff first. And I think it presumes that when the easy stuff is accomplished, then the hard stuff will be attempted next. Right?
That. Rarely. Happens.
The City of Chicago settled a lawsuit in 2007 that required it to spend a $50 million over 5 years (2007-2011) in “new money” (not previously budgeted to repair sidewalks) to fix curb ramps at crosswalks to make them compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It turns out that what’s accessible to people with disabilities really makes things accessible to everyone. In each construction season, Loop workers saw many curb ramps change in a matter of days. And it happened all around the city. Continue reading Tackling the hard stuff
[This piece also appears in Newcity magazine.]
As I make my way through the blizzard to the Blue Line’s Logan Square stop, seven pigeons are huddled on Evelyn Longman’s giant eagle sculpture atop the Illinois Centennial Monument. It’s a Thursday afternoon in early January, the streets are lined with slush and cars move at a cautious crawl. A scruffy, bearded guy in a hooded jacket trudges across the street toward me with wet snow blowing into his face. “No, it ain’t s—ty out,” he says with a grin. Me, I’m planning to take a pass on this nasty weather and spend the rest of the day in warmth and comfort as I go urban spelunking in the Chicago Pedway, an overlooked layer of Chicago’s transportation system.
Continue reading Notes from the Underground: A Subterranean Safari in the Pedway
The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) began construction Thursday, November 10, 2011, to restore a lighted signal and crosswalk at 500 S Lake Shore Drive.
I went on a four-hour bike ride today to gather photos of interesting things, including people walking and cycling in the 65°F warm and windy weather. I came across several places where pedestrian access had become an issue. These issues were manufactured by construction projects, clashing with the City of Chicago’s Complete Streets policy. Continue reading Grid Shots: Pedestrian access edition