A Step in the Right Direction: Proposed 11th Street Pedestrian Bridge and Underpass - Metropolitan Planning Council

Skip to main content

A Step in the Right Direction: Proposed 11th Street Pedestrian Bridge and Underpass

MPC supports a proposal for a pedestrian bridge and underpass at 11th Street and Columbus Drive. The bridge and underpass will provide pedestrians, cyclists and persons with disabilities with unfettered access from public transit facilities to Chicago's Museum Campus and Soldier Field. The project will alleviate traffic congestion, which occurs when pedestrians try to cross Columbus and Lake Shore before and after major events.

November 13, 2002

Commissioner Alicia Berg
Department of Planning and Development
121 N. LaSalle, Room 1000
Chicago, IL 60602

Dear Commissioner Berg:

As a member of the Grant Park Framework Plan Steering Committee, the Metropolitan Planning Council is pleased to submit this letter in support of the 11th Street underpass and a newly constructed pedestrian bridge over the rail corridor as proposed by the Chicago Park District.  Under current conditions, Columbus Drive, Lakeshore Drive and the Illinois Central Railroad serve as major barriers to both efficient vehicle and pedestrian flow to Grant Park. Pedestrians lack a clear pathway to and from the Museum Campus, Soldier Field, the Roosevelt Road Metra and nearby CTA stops at Roosevelt.  The only existing pathways consist of sidewalks intersecting major roadways.  Pedestrians cross Columbus and Lake Shore drives in droves on major event days, tying up traffic and risking their own safety.  City resources are also stretched, as additional police officers are needed to minimize conflicts between pedestrians and vehicles.

To alleviate these problems, a pedestrian bridge and underpass at 11th Street and Columbus Drive have been proposed.  The underpass has been discussed for the past several years, and most recently surfaced as part of the Grant Park Framework Plan.  The benefits of the bridge and underpass are numerous.  Both would improve safety conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists and people with disabilities, while supporting the use of public transportation as a convenient way of reaching park events.  Directing pedestrian traffic into an underpass would also alleviate traffic congestion at Columbus Drive and Roosevelt Road on major event days.  Finally, the bridge and underpass would achieve one of the goals of the Grant Park Framework Plan by physically connecting Grant Park’s southern spaces, which are currently broken up by major city streets and grade-separated railroad tracks.  MPC has encouraged the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority to finance these improvements
as part of its West Hall expansion plans and would be supportive of such a request.

Improving pedestrian access and reducing traffic conflicts for the southern end of the park with the 11th Street underpass and pedestrian bridge will help to tie the western half of the park with the Museum Campus and Soldier Field, further solidifying Grant Park as the city’s front yard.


Peter Skosey
Vice President, External Relations

Cc:  Mayor Richard M. Daley
Plan Commission Members
David Doig
Chris Gent
Ald Burton Natarus
Ald Madeline Haithcock
Jack Johnson
Sheila O’Grady
Luanne Hamilton
Grant Park Framework Plan Steering Committee
Lakefront Alliance for Transportation Planning

More posts by Peter

All posts by Peter »

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/3047

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 everyone

For more than 85 years, the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) has partnered with communities, businesses, and governments to unleash the greatness of the Chicago region. We believe that every neighborhood has promise, every community should be heard, and every person can thrive. To tackle the toughest urban planning and development challenges, we create collaborations that change perceptions, conversations—and the status quo. Read more about our work »

Donate »