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Multi-Tiered Museum Campus Transportation Plan

Chicago, IL

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.

Unknown User Chicago, IL

Let's make sure Mr. Tiede is included at the outset of this process as he has some good ideas, particularly making the Musuem Campus totally vehicular traffic-free in the long run.

Harvey Kahler Chicago, IL

In general, a more comprehensive approach like this is needed.

Perhaps the most important long-term aspect is connecting Ogilvie and Union Station with a subway; and this can be tied in with the Metra Electric, if not a CTA Gray Line purchase of service from Metra. In the interim, buses meeting trains at La Salle, Union, and Ogilvie could afford direct service during museum hours.

I agree with the idea of relocating the Metra 11th Place-Museum station to McFetridge Drive and improving the 18th Street stop for the Lucas Museum.

Direct handicapped access and shuttles still are needed for this sprawling campus; so pedestrian and vehicular traffic must be segregated rather than imposing an auto-free zone on it. Extending the #12/Roosevelt bus, along with the #146 and interim Metra shuttles, to the Museum Campus would connect with Metra Electric at McFetridge and with Metra Rock Island and Southwest trains at a new station at Roosevelt, also facilitating commuter access to UIC and the West Side Medical Center.

The Gray Line can be implemented quickly serving museums and the Pullman Historic District between Millennium and 111th for very little capital cost as an adjunct to being a rail transit service to the Southeast Lakefront and far South Side.

Another short-term improvement that would facilitate museum access, at least to the Hyde Park/Woodlawn museums and Pullman District, would be a direct connection from Union Station to the CN tracks along 16th Street. Such a connection is needed for Amtrak and would allow direct O'Hare - McCormick Place service with an extension and expansion of Metra North Central Service. Until the underground Metra Electric leg to Ogilvie/Union is completed, The NCS would provide a vital interim employment and travel link between the South Side and O'Hare and northern suburbs.

Two long-term components are needed: an underground extension up North Michigan and a leg to Ogilvie and Union Stations. This would complete the concept of the Monroe Distributor proposed i the 1970s; but executed as a same-seat Metra extension rather than a somewhat redundant and costly stand-alone CTA rapid transit line. The North Michigan extension would have four tracks to Chicago Avenue to hotels and shopping and two tracks for the Gray Line would continue up to Lincoln Park to the Chicago Historical Society, Zoo, Conservatory, and Notebart Museum as part of a Lakefront rapid transit line to reduce surface bus traffic, eventually connecting with the Red Line. A west leg for Metra Electric trains to Ogilvie and Union Station would provide regional connections and be convenient for West Loop commuter destinations. Trains would reverse direction, bringing commuters back east and up North Michigan before reversing again, either returning back to Ogilvie/Union and south or to the yard or McCormick Place, augmenting Gray Line service.