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Multi-Tiered Museum Campus Transportation Plan
After thorough review of your presentation from OCT 14 meeting and corresponding website of ideas for transportation updates to make access of the Museum Campus there is still glaring omission: creating a new dedicated subway line branching off from the loop (Origin ideas: Union Station or Roosevelt Station are ideal locations) to enable truly seamless transfer for locals and tourists alike to the area. This is part of an overarching need for the city of Chicago to improve connections from suburbs to Museum Campus. Public transportation from suburban arrival points like Union Station/Ogilvy/Millennium Station is a larger systemic issue and gaping hole in Chicago public transit that needs to be addressed immediately and this Museum Campus dialogue could be that opportunity, but first things first. Bottom line is this: You NEED to develop progressive and sustainable infrastructure that is not focused upon vehicle or bus traffic. Right now, all your ideas are focused on putting band-aids on a large systemic infrastructure problem: a.) Too much reliance on proven inefficient and confusing bus system b.) Too much overall vehicle traffic on the Museum Campus c.) Too little pedestrian access from multiple points north and south along the western edge of the campus You can vastly improve public transportation to/from Museum Campus while investing in the future of the city of Chicago by developing and building the following: 1. New underground subway w/ one unified Museum Campus stop on McFetridge Drive between Soldier Field and Field Museum 2. More accessible walkways to Museum Campus from multiple points north to south to cross over Metra Electric line and Lake Shore Drive to encourage more pedestrians and bicyclists 3. Limit or ban parking on Museum Campus except for the tailgate parking lots between Solider Field and McCormick Place and free up McFetridge Drive for light-rail installed to run a circular loop between all Museum Campus attractions Ultimately, the Museum Campus should be traffic free and be open for pedestrian and bicyclists only. This would enable visitors to appreciate the surroundings and pristine architecture in a picturesque backdrop of lake and skyline. Buses, subway station and taxis can still drop off from turnaround off Lake Shore Drive and McFetridge. The cumbersome and inefficient bus system in Chicago to/from the Museum Campus is only further exploited as being what it is: a waste of energy to try and add more dedicated routes. Adding standalone streetcars or trolleys that will only add more congestion and complicate our already at-capacity infrastructure on the roads is not prudent either. Think for the long term, NOT the short term. We need better access for the lakefront in general and the Museum Campus is key to this, but must be done tastefully and with the future in mind. We do not need more buses running slow and indirect routes through loop traffic to get to the campus when a subway line can whisk visitors there from points in the loop in minutes. I would be happy discuss these ideas further if you wish. I have extensive references from countless cities around the globe that have far superior infrastructure and public transportation that can be used as a beacon to guide us to creating the ability to not just showcase a first-class attraction of the Museum Campus, but a first-class infrastructure to enable visitors to enjoy getting to/from it.
Improve Regional Mass Transit First!
I live in the suburbs, adjacent the UP-West Metra rail line. My kids love coming to the museums, but we almost *never* use mass transit because the timing of trains during the day is horrible! It takes over an hour to get downtown, and the mid-day train schedule is so sporadic, you're either stuck downtown far longer than you want, or you have no time to enjoy the facilities. There are already plenty of buses to get from the rail stations to the Museum Campus. The problem for many suburbanites is that the rail service itself is prohibitive to museum use. Perhaps a solution would be to negotiate special trains on each line that would have "express" service downtown, and arrivals/departures would be timed to coincide with shuttle buses to museum campus. Make it as easy as possible. For example, each rail line could have a specific time in the morning, say 9:30, where certain stops would be accessible. So, take the UP-W for example. There could be a stop at Wheaton, Lombard, and Oak Park, for example. The train would be a short train, just 5 cars perhaps, and it would arrive around 10:15. The bus could be timed so it leaves Ogilvie (off of Clinton) and heads straight to the Museum Campus loop. It would be free if riders show their Metra daily MUSEUM CAMPUS pass. There would also be specific return times, perhaps once per hour, that would take you back to *the same place* at Ogilvie (to avoid confusion) and there could be better signage to help newbies find their return train. The return would also be an express to the same stations. I recognize that this plan is costly for Metra, but it would surely be LESS expensive than building an expensive Light Rail system that people from the suburbs don't use anyway because they already drove their car downtown!