Reporting Bob Roberts
CHICAGO (CBS) – The City and State Departments of Transportation Tuesday night hosted the first of a series of meetings on proposed improvements to North Lake Shore Drive.
City and State transportation engineers said they wanted ideas, and people gave them plenty.
Maps of Lake Shore Drive from Grand Avenue north to Hollywood Avenue were laid out, and many people left ideas on yellow post-it notes provided by IDOT and CDOT.
Among the ideas were separate paths for bicyclists and pedestrians, more rest rooms for those who exercise on the lakefront, longer Lake Shore Drive off-ramps and improved underpasses. One person suggested extending the Outer Drive to Evanston, but another wrote, “Don’t turn Edgewater into Stinkwater.”
Several others suggested building a light-rail line in place of the median strip. Yet others demanded better access to lakefront parks, and one woman suggested planting tall prairie grasses to discourage geese from roaming through the area. Still others used colored dots to point out critical safety issues, congestion hot spots, places that need improved park access or circulation and transit ends.
IDOT Project Engineer John Baczek said that merely replacing the existing Lake Shore Drive with new bridges and pavement would cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and said some of the other suggestions would multiply the potential costs several times.
Phase One studies will continue into 2016. Currently only the initial study has funding, and no one is giving a projected total cost until they know the scope of the work to be done. If construction is funded, it won’t begin until at least 2019, with completion in 2022 at the earliest.