Today’s Headlines for Thursday, May 14

  • CTA Is Already Bracing Itself for Rauner Transit Funding Cuts (Tribune)
  • Grimshaw: Plan for the Obama Library Must Include Better & More Frequent Transit (CNT)
  • WalkScore Ranks Chicago the 6th Most Bikeable City in US (RedFin)
  • Pace’s Arterial BRT System on NW Side Will Feature Heated Shelters (Active Trans)
  • 6 Corners Residents Brainstorm Ways to Make the Area More Walkable & Bikeable (Active Trans)
  • South Lakeview Neighbors Gripe About the Half-Finished Lincoln Placemaking Project (DNA)
  • Woman Who Survived Rape Attempt on CTA Is Angry at Bystander Who Failed to Help (Tribune)
  • Passing on the Right Leads to South Loop Car Crash (DNA)
  • Ramp Closure For Jane Byrne Interchange Work This Weekend (DNA)
  • Witness: Tow Truck Moved Car From a Legal Spot to an Illegal One, Then Towed It (DNA)

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  • BlueFairlane

    Does Streetsblog (or its writers) have an opinion about which potential site for the Obama library would be better from a transit standpoint? Do you guys think the library can be used to spur improvements anywhere?

  • My first thought is that the Washington Park site is a little more transit-friendly, because it already has relatively high-frequency (compared to Metra) Green Line service. It is also surrounded by low-income neighborhoods, so it might have more potential for spurring economic activity in communities that sorely need it. On the other hand, if a Jackson Park location leads to the creation of high-frequency Metra service, that would be the great thing, and that location also has good bus access.

    It seems likely that the Jackson Park will win out, because the U. of C. (where Obama went to law school) will exert its influence to get the library closer to campus, and because Hyde Park already has a lot of amenities that would appear to library visitors, such as the Museum of Science and Industry, nice restaurants, etc. I’m also guessing that the powers that be will assume that tourists would be more likely to take Metra than the Green Line due to class issues and the nicer physical environment on Metra cars.

  • neroden

    The utterly decrepit state of Metra within the city limits (especially the Electric line) means that tourists are far FAR more likely to take the Green Line.

    Due to class issues. The Green Line is a hell of a lot more upscale at this point than Metra Electric within the city limits.

    I can say this defnitively as a repeated tourist to the U of C area.

  • I am not sure Jackson Park is really that much closer to the center of gravity of campus. I agree with you the neighborhood west of Washington Park needs it more than the Jackson Park area.

  • Many staff at the university push visitors to use the Metra, and most first-time visitors do use it, only to realize what a piece of *$%^ the service levels are. The Metra will be used.

  • I stand corrected: The Washington Park site actually is about the same distance to the center of camping. However, I’m guessing the university sees the need to cross the park as a deterrent to museum goers visiting the campus.

  • BlueFairlane

    My own preference is Washington Park, largely for the reasons you suggest. At the very least, I think it would lead to the development of that block of weird, empty land between the park and the Green Line Garfield stop. I also think that while the Washington Park site at least seems farther from the heart of UofC, it’s much closer to the Obamas’ Kenwood house, which has the potential to become a tourist draw in its own right. I strongly suspect the house will be a national park site in 20 years, and you could then create some sort of heritage walk that combines the house with the library so that the two sites feed off each other.

    But I don’t know how much influence UofC has over the decision, which is coming from the Obamas themselves. I’m sure they prefer the Jackson Park site.

  • BlueFairlane

    Tourists want simple when it comes to transit, and Metra’s hard to figure out if you’re not familiar with it. The people I’ve known who have visited the city as tourists and gone down to the Museum of Science have either taken a bus or caught a cab, or not realizing the walking distance, have taken the Green Line. Most Haven’t realized Metra was an option until I mentioned it to them.

  • Alex_H

    John, a small correction: Obama taught law school at U of C, but he went to law school at Harvard. :) In fact, his first appearance in the New York Times came when he became the first African-American editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review.

  • Ah, good catch, thanks.

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