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  #961  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2021, 3:59 PM
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That section is very tricky! I don't think they can do a proper riverwalk along the South Branch, or it becomes too narrow for navigation of barges etc.

I think the best we can do is to carve a bike path out of Riverside Plaza on the west side (which would still have street crossings). Or maybe they can carve something out of the Union Station track level where Amtrak has an access road.
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  #962  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2021, 9:01 PM
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That section is very tricky! I don't think they can do a proper riverwalk along the South Branch, or it becomes too narrow for navigation of barges etc.

I think the best we can do is to carve a bike path out of Riverside Plaza on the west side (which would still have street crossings). Or maybe they can carve something out of the Union Station track level where Amtrak has an access road.
The city did put out the South Branch Riverwalk Implementation Plan, along the east bank, between Lake St. and Ping Tom Park, as part of an RFP last year.

Their concept for the South Riverwalk, produced in 2019, begins on page 184 of the 382-page .pdf.
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  #963  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2021, 6:40 PM
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Interesting, thanks for posting!

While we're posting city procurement/RFPs, I also saw that the city awarded a design contract for the Taylor St bridge last December, with a goal of 30% design by end of 2022. That will be a great complement to Wells/Wentworth as a traffic relief for Roosevelt and Clark.
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  #964  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2021, 7:13 PM
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A Taylor St bridge is definitely needed for traffic alleviation, especially as the South Loop has been adding more and more residential units and with the 78 in the pipeline. Taylor St's direct access to 90/94 makes this a no brainer as well.

The city would probably benefit from another bridge south of this location, between Roosevelt and 18th, in the coming years. The railyard west of the river probably makes this a no go, and this would require a change to the master plan of The 78 as well, further complicating things.

Any plans for a Polk St. bridge? It might be too narrow east of the river for that, realistically.
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  #965  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2021, 10:43 PM
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They eventually need both, Polk goes farther east. Gives a lot more options for traffic especially if your goal is not getting to the highway. And there is not cost effective way to build anything south like you pointed out.
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  #966  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2021, 10:46 PM
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How would the bridge on taylor st work? where would it connect on the other side?
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  #967  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2021, 10:47 PM
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Polk is not included in any official plans. I don't think the city wants to push any more traffic through Printer's Row; plus Polk doesn't cross the Dan Ryan or connect to the West Side due to UIC.

I do think a pedestrian spine along Polk might be nice, with a new river bridge and expressway bridge linking UIC and South Loop. But it only starts to make sense in 40 years, if the South Canal/Clinton area ever fills up with highrises and not just service businesses and suburban-style retail.

Note that all the bridges on the South Branch need to be movable, so I believe the Taylor bridge will be the city's first new movable bridge since Columbus Drive in 1982.
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  #968  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2021, 2:27 AM
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The 78 By Drone - Chicago Mega-Development

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  #969  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2021, 7:17 PM
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Thanks Randomguy34, Very Interesting.. I did keep trying to see the current Rail row work happening on the CN/RI. A brief glimpse in your video at 2:05 and 2:40, But it cuts away before the reveal of the actual crossing and new underpass.
Thanks for the post.
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  #970  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2021, 7:21 PM
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I didn't make the video, found it while I was bored lol
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  #971  
Old Posted Aug 25, 2021, 10:13 PM
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Thanks Randomguy34, Very Interesting.. I did keep trying to see the current Rail row work happening on the CN/RI. A brief glimpse in your video at 2:05 and 2:40, But it cuts away before the reveal of the actual crossing and new underpass.
Thanks for the post.
There's not much to see at this time, the first underpass at the SCAL is done but the river bridge is still closed. I think BNSF or CN is taking the opportunity to replace the waterproofing on the concrete SCAL viaduct west of the river.

The second underpass (Freeport Sub) is in progress but there's not much to see, crews are still trying to sink caissons through the underground thicket of old rails and retaining walls that I posted upthread. Because Freeport Sub is still seeing active trains, they can't build the bridge in 10 weeks like the first one.

No changes to the Rock Island as of yet; I assume for staging purposes they will build the concrete tunnel before relocating the tracks, but they won't build the tunnel until they're ready to develop something.
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  #972  
Old Posted Sep 24, 2021, 6:57 PM
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Is this a new rendering for the Discovery Partners Institute, designed by OMA, or just a different angle for a placeholder design? Doesn't look like the cube we've seen for the latter to me at least.


Source: DPI website
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  #973  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2021, 1:45 AM
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The 78 By Drone - Chicago Mega-Development

Video Link
Thanks for that


How or why this site never became developed is mind boggling being so close to the loop. My guess it was a rail yard on steroids at one time.


Mr. Downtown talked a bit about its history. I would love to hear his long story on its history and its likely future, like realistic future in the next 10 years.
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  #974  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2021, 3:22 AM
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Thanks for that


How or why this site never became developed is mind boggling being so close to the loop. My guess it was a rail yard on steroids at one time.


Mr. Downtown talked a bit about its history. I would love to hear his long story on its history and its likely future, like realistic future in the next 10 years.
Does that have to do with the site being potentially a brownfield and the cost of decontamination? I'd imagine greasing the right Aldermanic palms usually can get a developer around that though?

A family friend was in the construction industry in Pittsburgh and there was a lot of corruption in developing old slag sites/steel mill industrial sites. The city wanted revitalization and wanted it fast.
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  #975  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2021, 2:22 PM
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Thanks for that


How or why this site never became developed is mind boggling being so close to the loop. My guess it was a rail yard on steroids at one time.


Mr. Downtown talked a bit about its history. I would love to hear his long story on its history and its likely future, like realistic future in the next 10 years.
This site used to be a rail yard, as was Dearborn park. Further complicating development is that this site used to be the bend in the river before they straightened it. I believe it’s rubble/landfill and very difficult to build caissons in. Related is making this the “crescent park” to avoid the extra costs of building on that land.

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  #976  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2021, 2:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ithakas View Post
Is this a new rendering for the Discovery Partners Institute, designed by OMA, or just a different angle for a placeholder design? Doesn't look like the cube we've seen for the latter to me at least.


Source: DPI website
Same design as what OMA previously released, just a different angle.
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  #977  
Old Posted Sep 25, 2021, 6:50 PM
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The 78 site was all railyards, with some freighthouses and grain elevators, by the late 19th century. In the late 1920s, remarkably, the railroads agreed to a series of property swaps that allowed the river to be straightened. However, the Depression soon ended the city’s dream of extending LaSalle and Wells through the site.

The land between Clark and the new river channel got some freighthouses and team tracks, but most of it by the 1960s was used for parking trucks used in piggyback (trailer on flatcar) operations. Several long concrete parking pads were laid. Here’s what it looked like in 1970 (the circle is at State & Roosevelt):


NIPC aerial

Bankruptcy of the Rock Island and Penn Central in the 1970s ended most railroad operations, and the land went to the surviving real estate subsidiaries and spinoffs.

In the 1990s, ownership was split, with the land next to the river controlled by one owner and the land next to Clark by another. One planning exercise I was part of absurdly proposed putting the Wells-Wentworth connector right on the property line so neither owner would bear more of the burden. Besides the 1985 White Sox stadium scheme, there was a circa 1990 plan to move the main post office there that Mayor Daley stepped in to block.

In 2001, Rezmar gained control of both parts and began planning a big development. They went through a couple of iterations with IKEA-anchored retail along Roosevelt, and then a retail center without IKEA. When Rezko’s empire collapsed, General Mediterranean bought the dirt. They’re still the actual 90% owner; Related Midwest is just the development partner.

The reason it remained undeveloped is a combination of it having no infrastructure and successive owners holding out for big dreams. Because you have to put in so much street and pipe network at once to get any access from Clark or Roosevelt, you can’t just parcel it out a few acres at a time to townhouse developers. Until about 10 years ago, a bunch of highrise residential just didn’t seem all that realistic on this site. Had Related Midwest not advanced such a big plan a couple of years ago, I fear Amazon would now be looking to swoop in and create its version of the big UPS hub across the river.

People always bring up its brownfield history as a dominant factor, but I don’t think that’s a serious issue. It was just a parking lot and railroad tracks onto which some lubricants and diesel fuel might have spilled. Any remediation would be a simple matter of scraping the top six inches and sending it to a Downstate strip mine. I was happy to see Skidmore dedicate most of the old riverbed as parkland, and that might remove a certain amount of doubt, but the old riverbed was mostly filled in with what they dug from the new channel, so nothing especially evil. The river was only 20 feet deep, so no problem for drilling caissons—but because the river channel had wandered so much over the last 10,000 years, pretty much everything southwest of Polk & Clark has been built on pilings, anyway.
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  #978  
Old Posted Sep 26, 2021, 3:47 PM
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The soil under the old riverbed is not a problem for caissons, since you're drilling down to rock or hardpan anyway, but it is a problem for shallow foundations like those you might build for a row of townhouses or a retail pavilion, or even up to 4-5 story buildings. Since it's unlikely that Related will carpet the site with highrises when all is said and done (despite what is shown in renderings), there's bound to be some actual savings from this decision at some point.

That said, I suspect the decision to dedicate the old riverbed to parkland was driven more by a romantic idea than by any serious study of cost savings on foundations, but the savings are a tangible benefit.

I remember one of my former employers was working on a townhouse project just north of Roosevelt and the poor soils in the old riverbed were indeed a concern for the engineers.
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