Letters: Keep Chicagoans part of the conversation for a Bubbly Creek pedestrian bridge - Metropolitan Planning Council

Skip to main content

Letters: Keep Chicagoans part of the conversation for a Bubbly Creek pedestrian bridge

Image courtesy Nancy Stone via Chicago Tribune

This op-ed first appeared in the Chicago Tribune on March 05, 2021.

Not long ago, most Chicagoans would have scoffed at the idea of building a walkway over Bubbly Creek, which for decades literally bubbled with pollution. Cleanup efforts have changed that: Today, hundreds of Chicagoans live near the South Side creek, and the adjacent Eleanor Street Boathouse provides rowers with waterfront access. As Chicago and Illinois’ departments of transportation begin a feasibility study of a pedestrian bridge there, we encourage the city and state to conduct a more robust engagement process that includes city residents, who originally envisioned the bridge.

Not long ago, most Chicagoans would have scoffed at the idea of building a walkway over Bubbly Creek, which for decades literally bubbled with pollution.

In 2019, the South Branch Park Advisory Council — with the Metropolitan Planning Council, Active Transportation Alliance, Friends of the Chicago River, Cannon Design and SmithGroup — released the South Branch Parks Framework Plan. The plan envisions a connected park system along the Chicago River’s South Branch, focused on the area that converges with Bubbly Creek and the Sanitary and Ship Canal. During the yearlong planning process, more than 500 community residents, predominantly from Bridgeport and Pilsen, shaped recommendations to strengthen local communities, and improve connections between parks and communities along the South Branch. Among those recommendations is the ambitious idea to build a pedestrian bridge over Bubbly Creek.

The bridge would improve access to nearby transit options like the Ashland Orange Line stop and Ashland Avenue buses, and better connect residents to local parks, shopping districts and other neighborhoods. We are pleased that CDOT and IDOT are studying the feasibility of the bridge. To date, the process has not only included community residents but also stakeholder organizations, city departments and local elected officials. In the coming months and years, even more robust stakeholder engagement will identify why and how this bridge should be built.

Chicago residents deserve to have their input heard by city and state decision-makers, and this process will provide that opportunity. Since the plan was released, two developments have been approved in the planning area, but they did not take local community feedback into consideration before receiving city approval. Chicago residents have grown weary of this practice. We are working to change the narrative and outcomes related to development in our communities and along the Chicago River. We can and must do better, not just for local residents, but for the future of the Chicago River and all Chicagoans.

Comments

No comments

More posts by Chloe

All posts by Chloe »

MPC on Twitter

Follow us on Twitter »


Stay in the loop!

MPC's Regionalist newsletter keeps you up to date with our work and our upcoming events.

Subscribe to Regionalist


Most popular news

Browse by date »

This page can be found online at http://www.metroplanning.org/news/10046

Metropolitan Planning Council 140 S. Dearborn St.
Suite 1400
Chicago, Ill. 60603
312 922 5616 info@metroplanning.org

Sign up for newsletter and alerts »

Shaping a better, bolder more equitable future for all in the greater Chicago region

For more than 80 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has made the Chicago region a better place to live and work by partnering with businesses, communities and governments to address the area's toughest planning and development challenges. MPC works to solve today's urgent problems while consistently thinking ahead to prepare the region for the needs of tomorrow. Read more about our work »

Donate »