Monday, March 24, 2008

Edgewater Residents still leery of lakefront path

Lake Shore Drive at Hollywood, Chicago

There are a number of cool things about the map above.  And before I get to the point of the article that I set out to write about, I really must give a rave review to a couple of products that I discovered over the weekend.

1. This blog post (and the one on Lincoln Park) were written in Windows Live Writer.  This desktop publishing tool seems to blend the best of a desktop application with the easy-access of an online writing tool like Google Documents.  The interface is elegant and graceful, offers tons of tools, and publishes to almost any online host effortlessly.  Windows Live Writer went out and fetched all the settings from my Blogger account and seamlessly writes my posts in the same style and formatting as my blog.  I'm amazed.

2. Windows Live Writer allows me to insert photos with gorgeous effects, tables, video from YouTube and other sources as well as the amazing Windows Live Map you see above.  Check it out closely:  it's draggable; it's clickable; it's totally interactive.  It's not just a simple screen capture from Windows Live or Google Earth.

Alright, back to the topic at hand:

The Friends of the Park recently tried to revive the discussion with Edgewater residents about what they thought of extending the lakefront path north of Hollywood Avenue in front of the lakefront high rises that are east of Sheridan Road from Hollywood up to Loyola University.

Extending Lincoln Park north of Hollywood is not a new idea.  About three-dozen high rises between Hollywood and Loyola are built right up against the lake.  Past proposals including a shoreline protection study in 1987 have called for expanding the shore east of these private buildings.  Six years ago, Mayor Daley called for lakefront paths to be stretched north to run all the way to Evanston (Chicago's closest suburb to the north.) 

None of the proposals have ever materialized.  Residents in the fancy high rises and a few from Rogers Park (the most northern neighborhood in Chicago) opposed efforts expanding the shore.  They fought attempts to build marinas and helped pass an advisory referendum opposing an extension of North Lake Shore Drive.

But with the Centennial Anniversary of Daniel Burnham's 1909 plan approaching, Friends of the Parks set out to re-visit ways to complete public access to the City's lakefront.  Four of the city's 30 miles of shoreline remain in private hands despite Burnham's vision of a public lakeshore stretching from Indiana to Winnetka (north of Evanston.)  The group soon found that the idea remains a hard sell.

Mind you, folks living WEST of Sheridan Road seemed excited about greater access to the lake.  The president of an association representing 33 buildings along Sheridan Road supported the idea of extending the lakefront path.

But several residents in high rises EAST of Sheridan Road say they weren't consulted.  They say they were not aware that Friends of the Parks was developing ideas for a park extension until it was too lake to offer input.

They also worry about privacy and security issues should public park space be constructed right behind their buildings.  They fear clogged traffic on Sheridan Road will become even worse.

Your guide hopes that continued efforts in the coming years results in the opening of the lakefront along this stretch of Sheridan Road.  One of the complaints of Sheridan Road residents was that the sidewalk alongside Sheridan Road is already congested with pedestrians and bicyclists.  Residents have forced local police to vigilantly patrol this stretch for bike riders on the sidewalks.  But Sheridan Road is so narrow that any bicyclist brave enough to ride in traffic along Sheridan Road surely takes their life into their hands as they dodge turning cars, CTA buses and delivery trucks.  In reality, the creation of the lakefront path would alleviate much of the sidewalk congestion in this area and make both areas safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.


teresa boardman said...

I love Chicago, I'll have to go back soon for more pictures. You have wonderful photos on your blog.

Bob said...

Teresa, is it possible for you to be any sweeter? Thank you!