Today’s Headlines for Friday, March 16

  • Presentation Materials from South Lakefront Framework Plan Meetings (South Lakefront Plan)
  • Latest Plans for Massive Lincoln Yards Development Includes 606 Extension (Tribune)
  • Even with $1B Upgrade, Deep Tunnel Reservoir Still Reaching Capacity (Tribune)
  • Aldermen Pushing for More Public Space in North Branch Redevelopment (Sun-Times)
  • Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle Speeding in Official City Vehicle (CWB)
  • Uncovering Wesley Willis’ Long Lost Drawings of Dan Ryan, Michigan Avenue (Reader)
  • Plans for a Bike Path Connecting South Suburbs (Tribune)
  • TIF-Supported Commercial Development With Sprawling Parking Lot Approved (Chicago DPD Twitter)
  • BlueFairlane

    I’m not surprised at the performance of the Deep Tunnel last month, as the entire system seems conceived by people who underestimate the physical issues of runoff by orders of magnitude.

    When completed, the Deep Tunnel system will hold about 10 billion gallons of water. But every inch of rain that falls on the system’s drainage basin translates to 4.4 billion gallons of water, all trying to get into the quarries at once. When you add the volume of water that will fall more and more frequently from storms enhanced by changing climate, there’s simply no way to build big enough to solve the problem

    And that problem is that all of Chicago was built on flatland fill that used to be marsh and really wants to go back to doing that. There’s no engineering a way around that. And to be honest, most of the eco-friendly solutions like permeable pavement and rain gardens, while helpful, won’t make that big a dent either. I feel like we really have two options: Incorporate those eco-friendly solutions while accepting that some areas are just going to flood anyway, or abandoning large swaths of flood-prone land and turning it back to marsh. We’ll never see option 2. We’re going to have to accept option 1. Some places are just going to flood.

  • Carter O’Brien

    To be fair, when they started envisioning Deep Tunnel in the 60s nobody had any idea how anthropomorphic climate change would lead to the faster/more intense storms. Just imagine if that conversation had been put off until now? The green infrastructure solutions that are coming online as new development mandates will help, any extra time that can be bought via infiltration/interception is helping. There’s a newer ordinance pertaining to this that is certainly a good step btw: https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/water/provdrs/engineer/svcs/2009_sewer_constructionandstormwatermanagementrequirements.html)

  • craterlet

    The other engineering solution was to spend the money we spent on the deep tunnel project on separating the storm and sanitation sewers into two systems. The swampy nature of the area does present fundamental challenges, but a big part of our problem is having to store and treat rain water in the first place.