Tourism is on the Rise in Chicago
May 20, 2013
Alderman Reilly was thrilled to learn that April was a record month for tourism in Chicago.
Hotel occupancy in April was the best it has ever been in Chicago's history, at 78.8 percent. This figure, announced by Mayor Emanuel and Choose Chicago this past week, is a 3.1 percent increase over last year's total of 76.4 percent hotel occupancy in April. This number eclipsed
the previous record high of 78.2 percent occupancy, in 2008.
Additionally, the average daily rate (ADR) for April was up 4.2 percent
year over year, to $183.21 per night, and Revenue per available room
(REVPAR) was up 7.3 percent, to $144.05.
What this all means, is that direct hotel revenues in Chicago went from about $139 million in April 2012 to approximately $151 million in April 2013.
All of the key indicators for the month demonstrated that the industry is back to pre-recession numbers - a great sign for our economy as well.
Year to date numbers are also outstanding so far. Total occupancy has increased 1.7 percent from last year and on its way to becoming the best Chicago has ever seen since 2007. For the year, the ADR is $158.70, a 2.9 percent increase from last
year, and total revenue from the hotel industry is the highest year to
date that it has ever been, at $427 million.
is a reflection of the increasing occupancy rates at the same time that
there is dramatic increase in the number of hotel rooms available in
the city. At present there are approximately 35,000 hotel rooms in the
city, and more than 2,500 additional rooms are currently under
construction- many of which are located in the 42nd Ward.
strong start to the year is, in part, attributable to a regional winter
advertising and public relations campaign launched by Choose Chicago to target visitors to the city during the winter months. The campaign
was launched using resources saved from a consolidation of the city's
multiple tourism efforts. This Summer's Leisure Tourism Campaign will begin May 20th lasting through August 3rd and will target seven strategic markets through television and digital promotions.
If you haven't heard, Chicago is a global cultural destination- for over half a million visitors annually! The
Cultural Tourism Department with Choose Chicago is responsible for
increasing awareness and visitation to Chicago's cultural attractions,
events and neighborhoods. In addition to operating two Visitor
Information Centers, the department's four objectives are:
Chicago as a global cultural destination by leveraging the rich and
diverse resources of Chicago's arts, culture, and neighborhoods.
as a catalyst for communication and partnerships among agencies,
organizations, and stakeholders in arts, culture, and tourism.
- Enhance the visitor experience and orientation.
- Establish metrics to measure and track growth.
Choose Chicago's work in driving increased leisure visitation and
important international tourism outreach, we look forward to welcoming
many new visitors to Chicago over these coming months where our city
truly comes alive with our street festivals, concerts in the park and
Washington Street Bridge Celebrates 100th Anniversary!
May 20, 2013
The new Washington Blvd. bridge in action. (from the 1913 Annual Report of the Chicago Public Works Department)
current bridge crossing the South Branch of the Chicago River at W.
Washington Blvd. was opened one hundred years ago on May 26, 1913.
100th anniversary for the Washington Bridge is May 26, 2013. Chicago
Loop Bridges is sponsoring a free day ay the McCormick Bridgehouse &
Chicago River Museum on that date. Information can be found at: http://chicagoloopbridges.com/bridges12/SB12/WASH12-6.html.
bridge has been present for most of the 144 year history of the river
crossing at Washington Blvd. During Chicago's first seventy years as a
city, engineers experimented with many ways to satisfy the conflicting
needs of land traffic and navigation interests at the river. One of
these experiments was the tunnel at Washington Blvd., the first built in
Chicago specifically for wagon and pedestrian traffic.
in 1869, this tunnel (and a second built at LaSalle St. that opened in
1870) provided an escape path during the Great Fire in 1871 that the
burning bridges couldn't. The steep approaches, damp, and dirty
conditions made the tunnel unpopular with pedestrians. Eventually the
tunnel was converted for use in the cable car, and later, the street car
systems. In 1910, the tunnel was rebuilt and lowered 9 feet as the
larger vessels ran aground on the top of it. The Washington Blvd. tunnel
was closed in 1953, ending 84 years of service.
first bridge was installed here in 1891, when the existing swing bridge
at Madison St. was floated in. This swing bridge was in use until 1907
when it was demolished for both the lowering of the existing tunnel and
the construction of the current bridge.
the Washington Blvd. bridge stands as a monument to the metamorphosis
of the Chicago-type bascule bridges from first to second generation.
bridge was the first to include the ideals of the 1909 Plan of Chicago.
Edward Bennett, co-author of the Plan, began collaborating with Chicago
Public Works bridge engineers during the latter design stages of the
bridge. That collaboration led to aesthetic considerations such as
upgraded materials in the abutment walls, railings, lighting, and, most
notably, in the bridgehouses.
bridgehouses resembled mid-west farmhouses. The Washington Blvd.
bridgehouses incorporated more ornamentation and were clad in molded
copper sheeting. While these houses are not as showy as those that
followed, they were a step above what came before. These modest
aesthetic features were added at a cost of about $14,000 or about 6% to
the total cost of the bridge in 1913.
this bridge involved innovations in two areas. First, due to the
tunnel directly below the bridge, new foundation design techniques were
developed and implemented here and used on bridges that followed.
Second, features developed and patented in 1911 by Chicago Public Works
engineer Alexander von Babo were incorporated into the design. The most
significant of these design innovations was changing the location of the
rack and pinion which made a striking difference in the appearance of
the Chicago's bridges. The photo below contrasts the second generation
bridge at Washington Blvd. with the first generation Kinzie St. bridge.
2nd & 1st Generation Chicago-type Bascule bridges.
(Washington- left / Kinzie - right)
the other downtown bridges, you won't find a plaque on the Washington
Blvd. bridgehouses. The key players in the design and construction of
this bridge were: John Ericson, City Engineer; Thomas G. Pihlfeldt,
Chief Engineer; Alexander von Babo, Engineer of Bridge Design; Clarence
S. Rowe, Construction Engineer; Edward H. Bennett, Chicago Plan
Commission Architect; Strobel Steel Company built the superstructure;
and Fitzsimons and Connell Dredge and Dock Company built the
substructure. The substructure was completed in a year (August 25, 1911 -
August 22, 1912). Work on the superstructure began June 25, 1912 and
both leaves were lowered into position simultaneously on March 22, 1913;
pavement and sidewalks were the last items completed.
it's hard to imagine the number of vessels that used the Chicago River
in the first part of the 20th Century. During 1914, the first full year
of operation of this bridge, a total of 9,540 vessels entered and
cleared the Chicago River. The Washington Blvd. bridge opened 3,773
times in that year alone.
new Washington Blvd. bridge served as the finish line for the seventh
annual Chicago river marathon in 1914. This event, a swim from the
Chicago Harbor to various bridges from Wells St. to Van Buren St., was
sponsored by the Illinois Athletic Club from 1908 to 1928. In 1908, the
manager of the swim was quoted in the Chicago Daily Tribune, "If the
swimmers can stand the odor which is said to come from the water they
will be able to finish without much great effort." About 55 swimmers
competed in the 1914 race.
in semi-retirement, the bridge is raised only about 40 times a year,
mostly during the Spring and Fall sailboat runs to and from Lake
Michigan. About 14,000 vehicles and 9,500 pedestrians cross this bridge
daily. Based on the available data, it is estimated that this bridge has
been raised about 70,000 times in it's 100 years.
houses may need some TLC, but the recent paint job on the trusses and
new sidewalks make this bridge a good looking centenarian.
For more information, please contact Jim Phillips with Chicago Loop Bridges at 312-540-0696 or visit their website.
Get Ready for Bike to Work Week, June 10 - 14, by Joining the Active Transportation Alliance's Bike Commuter Challenge!
May 20, 2013
Commuter Challenge is a FREE workplace wellness program to show
employees a new perspective on commuting. This is a great opportunity
for building interpersonal relationships within the workplace and
creating a positive work environment for employees.
your office up for the Bike Commuter Challenge today! Teams compete
for the highest percentage of bike commuters among similar-sized
Trans provides team leaders with everything they need to rally the
office: bike maps, posters, how-to manuals, and Active Trans staff are
available to give bike safety seminars at your office.
companies with the highest percentage of employees who log at least
part of their commute one day during Bike to Work Week win!
To learn more, please visit www.bikecommuterchallenge.org.
Last Week at City Council ..
May 13, 2013
The Chicago City Council met last Wednesday, May 8th, and approved the following measures:
Revised Ordinance Governing Water Rates for Non-Profit Institutions
City Council approved a revised ordinance that provides for a
four-tiered system that will govern how much non-profit institutions pay
for their water. This scaled payment system ensures smallest churches
and non-profit institutions can provide critical services while taxpayer
interests are protected.
The final proposal divides non-profits into four groups, based on the size of their assets.
- Group 1: NFPs with net assets less than $1M will be eligible for a 100% exemption from water payments.
- Group 2: NFPs with net assets between $1M and $10M will be eligible for a 60% exemption from water payments.
- Group 3: NFPs with net assets between $10M and $250M will be eligible for a 25% exemption from water payments.
- No exemption from water payments for those not-for-profits with net assets in excess of $250M.
Disproportionate Share Hospitals' water exemption will be based on
their net asset levels with a minimum exemption of 25%. The public
museums' water exemption will remain at 20% regardless of net asset
all water accounts must be controlled by a meter, and the City will
work with all the institutions to make sure that meters are installed
appropriately, and will help them get a meter installed in the event
that there are costs associated with the installations.
The agreement will be retroactive to the beginning of 2013.
To download the ordinance, please click here.
Lead-Safe Renovation Ordinance
City Council also approved an amendment to the demolition and
renovation ordinance (Chicago Municipal Code Chapter 11-4) that aims to
protect public health and the environment by reducing the risk of
exposure to dust and debris that may be contaminated with lead-based
paint or asbestos-containing material.
proposed amendment will strengthen and clarify existing ordinance to
reduce the risks of exposure to these materials during demolition and
renovation. The ordinance will especially protect children, who are
particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of lead, which can cause
learning disabilities and behavior problems. Inhalation of microscopic
asbestos fibers can cause potentially fatal asbestos-related diseases
such as asbestosis and mesothelioma.
amendment will require permit applicants to certify they will comply
with federal lead-safe training requirements and work practices when
conducting work that may disturb lead-based paint in certain buildings.
Contractors who apply for renovation permits or architectural surface
cleaning permits for work in certain pre-1978 child-occupied buildings
must certify that they are in compliance with the U.S. EPA's Renovation,
Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule, which has been in effect since 2010.
ensuring that projects permitted in the city are performed in
compliance with the federal rule, this ordinance will help to limit
exposure to lead hazards and prevent lead poisoning before it happens.
Further, the amendment clarifies the notice, fee, and disposal
provisions in the current asbestos ordinance. Clarifying the
notification procedures will ensure that the Chicago Department of
Public Health (CDPH) is timely notified of such projects for review and
inspection. By clarifying that asbestos-containing demolition debris
must be disposed of properly, the ordinance will benefit anyone who
might come into contact with the debris, from the workers and waste
haulers to the general public.
Overall revisions to the ordinance include:
clarification that buildings must be inspected for asbestos before being
demolished and that the debris must be properly disposed.
clarifications regarding the timing and form of asbestos
notifications submitted to the Chicago Department of Public Health
- A new requirement for contractors to
report compliance with already-existing federal lead-safe work
practices before doing work that will disturb paint in pre-1978
To download the ordinance, please click here.
A summary of other measures approved and introduced at the May 2013 City Council meeting is available here. The City Clerk also provides access to the full video and detail on all the items from the Council meeting on the Legislative Information Center.
Reminder from IL Secretary of State Regarding Recent Changes to Persons with Disabilities Parking Program
May 13, 2013
to a new law enacted by the Illinois General Assembly, Public Act
97-0845, significant changes have been made to the Persons with
Disabilities Parking Program, which affect both new applicants and
current disability placard and license plate holders.
legislation establishes more stringent criteria for a person to park
for free at parking meters in order to reduce fraud. The new two-tier
system removes the ability for all persons with disability license
plates and/or placards to park for free at metered spaces.
re-certification for current disability placard and license plate
holders began in April 2013. Enforcement of the new provisions will
begin January 1, 2014.
To learn more about changes to the Persons with Disabilities Parking Program, please click here or visit the FAQ page.
Save the Date! City Vehicle Stickers to be sold Saturday, June 1st in the 42nd Ward -
Alderman Reilly hosts a dedicated sales day at 42nd Ward Constituent Service Office, 325 W. Huron Suite 510
May 13, 2013
Reilly and City Clerk Susana A. Mendoza have partnered to give 42nd
Ward drivers the opportunity to purchase their Chicago City Vehicle
Stickers. On Saturday, June 1st the City Clerk's Office and
Alderman Reilly will host a dedicated sales day at the 42nd Ward
Constituent Service Office, 325 W. Huron Street, Suite 510, from 10:00am
2012-2013 Chicago City Vehicle Stickers expire on June 30 and
enforcement begins on July 16. In addition to the Saturday, June 1st
42nd Ward sale day, stickers are available at all City Clerk and
Department of Finance office locations, at more than 400 community
vendors and online at www.ChiCityClerk.com.
City Vehicle Stickers are $85 for a passenger vehicle and $135 for a
large passenger vehicle. Annual residential parking is $25 and a set of
15 daily residential guest permits is $8. Senior citizens with a valid
Illinois driver's license are eligible for one reduced rate vehicle
sticker for $30.
note, new this year motorists MUST bring their renewal form with them
when purchasing their stickers or a state vehicle registration card,
insurance card or vehicle title, which contains the Vehicle
Identification Number (VIN). Chicago City Vehicle
Stickers purchased after July 15 are subject to a $60 late fee and
drivers may receive a minimum $200 citation.
2013 Chicago Farmers Market Schedule
May 13, 2013
Farmers Markets, presented by the City of Chicago, Department of
Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and COUNTRY Financial will
sell fresh fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers.
Farmers Markets Opening this Month:
Division Street - Division and Dearborn
Saturdays, May 11 - October 26; 7am - 1pm
Daley Plaza - Washington and Dearborn
Thursdays, May 16 - October 24; 7am to 3pm
Federal Plaza - Adams and Dearborn
Tuesdays, May 21 - October 29; 7am to 3:00pm
Farmers Markets Opening in June:
Museum of Contemporary Art - Chicago and Mies van der Rohe Way
Tuesdays, June 4 - October 29; 7am - 3pm
Willis Tower Plaza - 233 S. Wacker
Thursdays, June 27 - October 31; 7am - 3pm
The full list of Chicago's Farmers Markets is available at www.chicagofarmersmarkets.us.
Chicago Department of Aviation Celebrates Military Appreciation Month!
May 6, 2013
Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) recently kicked off its second
annual Military Appreciation Month celebration to recognize active and
former military personnel traveling through Chicago's airports.
day during the month of May, the CDA in partnership with the United
Service Organization (USO) and airport concessionaires, will sponsor a
series of planned events, programs and special discounts. Participating
retail and food and beverage outlets will display signs offering 10-25
percent discounts at O'Hare and Midway to military personnel on Mondays
will be Donation Days for the USO. Passengers and airport employees are
encouraged to visit the USO Centers at each airport and donate food
items such as chips, water, candy, granola bars, as well as phone
calling cards, DVDs, video games, eyeglass wipes, hand sanitizer and
other personal care items for use by military personnel and their
families traveling through Chicago's airports. Donation bins will be
located at USO centers in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 at O'Hare and in
Concourse B at Midway. Passengers can also fill out "Thank A Hero" note
cards to leave for those serving in the military.
variety of live entertainment, from high school drill teams to blues
and jazz bands and samba dancers, will also take place at both airports
in celebration of Military Appreciation Month on Fridays from 2pm to
5pm. At O'Hare, performances will be staged in the baggage claim area in
Terminal 1 and on the lower level arrivals area in Terminal 5; and past
security checkpoints in Terminals 2 and 3. At Midway, the
entertainment will take place in the baggage claim area, as well as past
security checkpoints near the Food Court in Concourse B.
For more information about Military Appreciation Month activities, please click here.
City of Chicago to Launch Bike Share System
April 29, 2013
Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) will launch the city's new
bike share system - Divvy - later this spring, with the goal of
expanding to 4,000 bikes at 400 neighborhood locations over the next
system is dubbed "Divvy" to reflect the nature of bike share, where
members "divide and share" the use of the bikes. The bicycles'
distinctive "Chicago Blue" paint is the same color as the stripes on the
Chicago city flag, and will provide a high level of visibility on the
will give Chicagoans and visitors access to a bike when they want one,
without having to worry about storage or maintenance. It also leverages
Chicago's public transit system to help commuters complete the first or
last few miles of their trip. In comparable cities, half of all bike
share trips are made to or from a public transit station.
will provide a convenient, easy-to-use transit option available 24
hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. It is envisioned for
short point-to-point trips, or as alternative option for a multi-mode
commute. Users will pick up a bike from a self-service docking station
and return it to any other station nearest their destination.
specially designed, heavy-duty bikes will be comfortable for all
users. Features include a one-size fits all design, upright handlebars,
wide seats, hand brakes, and a chain guard to protect clothing. The
bikes feature headlights and taillights that automatically illuminate as
the bike is pedaled.
will be able to purchase $75 yearly memberships or $7 daily passes,
which will allow for unlimited trips up to 30 minutes each. Annual
members will be able to enroll online and receive a personal key used to
quickly unlock bikes from any station.
stations will be placed near transit stations, employment centers,
shopping districts, schools and other popular destinations. They will
generally be located on sidewalks or on the street near the curb. The
stations are wireless, solar powered and modular so that they can be
easily installed. Most stations will have 15-19 bike docks, with open
docks at each station for returning bikes.
inspired logo indicates a sense of direction and motion through a
distinctive double-V ligature. Marked on streets across the world,
this double-arrow symbolizes the shared use of roads by both bicyclists
and motorists. In transportation vernacular, this symbol is often
called a "sharrow."
Last year, Mayor Emanuel unveiled the Chicago Streets for Cycling Plan 2020,
which calls for a 645-mile network of biking facilities to be in place
by 2020 to provide a bicycle accommodation within half-mile of every
Chicagoan. Divvy bikes and solar-powered docking stations will be an
integral part of this network.
in late 2012, CDOT solicited suggestions from the public on where the
stations should be to be located through the Chicago Bicycle Program website.
To date, Chicagoans have made more than 1,300 suggestions for station
locations with more than 11,000 votes of support. The siting process is
continuing and locations will be announced later this spring. The
stations are modular and mobile, and can be moved or expanded in
reaction to demand.
funding for the program is from federal grants for projects that
promote economic recovery, reduce traffic congestion and improve air
quality, as well as additional funds from the City's Tax Increment
Financing program. The project continues on budget and schedule for a
late spring rollout.
system will grow in several steps after the initial launch of about 75
stations, expanding to at least 4,000 bikes at 400 stations in 2014.
The Divvy service boundaries are roughly from 63rd Street to Devon
Avenue, from Lake Michigan to California Avenue.
Chicagoans can find out more about the system by visiting divvybikes.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/divvybikes.
Chicago's bike share system, will also be creating roughly 100 jobs in
Chicago, and are looking for qualified candidates to fill the following
- Inventory Specialists
- Placement team members
- Bike techs
To learn more, click here to view the official job posting.
Registration Now Open for One Summer Chicago 2013
April 22, 2013
Summer Chicago is a City-County initiative to provide children and
youth between the ages of 6 and 24 with meaningful summer engagement
One Summer Chicago
2013 includes summer employment for youth adults, as well as educational
and recreational opportunities (e.g., day camps, arts programs and
sports programs) for youth of all ages.
goal of One Summer Chicago is to maximize the availability of and
access to summer programs for Chicago's young people to keep them safe
and learning all summer long. To achieve this goal, public agency
partners from across the City and County come together to leverage their
resources to provide the maximum number of high-quality opportunities
for children and youth.
than 18,000 Chicago young adults ages 16 to 24 can gain valuable job
training and work experience this summer as part of 2013's One Summer
Chicago program. Additionally, over 190,000 opportunities
to participate in educational and recreational opportunities will be
made available for young Chicagoans, ages 6 to 24.
To help parents and children find and take advantage of these opportunities, visit www.OneSummerChicago.org to look up and apply for jobs and internships through a common application. Online registration and application for summer employment is available now through May 31, 2013. The
site also helps direct families to summer camps, organized sports
programs, summer field trips to cultural institutions and other
noteworthy locations across the city.
One of the new initiatives that will benefit youth long after the
summer of 2013 is through a collaboration with workforce.io, which uses
technology and networking strategies to assist young job seekers gain
employment. Under this partnership, all 18,000 job participants will be
able to build their resumes, establish personal profiles and work
directly with supportive area businesses to lay the career planning
groundwork that they will draw from throughout their working lives. In
addition, 200 high school youth will be placed across city departments
to gain valuable public sector work experience.
Of the 18,000 job opportunities 7,000 will be with after school
matters, 3,900 will be with Chicago Park District, and 2,200 will be
with the Chicago Housing Authority.
The Chicago Department of
Family and Support Services (DFSS) leads One Summer Chicago in
partnership with participating agencies including: Chicago Department of
Transportation, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago
Housing Authority, After School Matters, Chicago Public Libraries, City
Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, Chicago Police
Department, Mayor's Office of People with Disabilities, and Cook County
Notable private sector participants include
the Chicago Community Trust, Bank of America, Boeing Corporation,
McCormick Foundation, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the Rotary Club,
Chicago Cares, the Urban Alliance, Smart Chicago, and the University of Chicago Crime Lab.
For more information concerning programs related to One Summer Chicago and all affiliated summer programs go to: www.onesummerchicago.org or click here to download the official press release.
Public Safety Update: Saturday Incident on Mag Mile
April 1, 2013
am writing to provide you with some additional information regarding
the very disturbing incident that occurred at the intersection of
Chicago and Michigan avenues on Saturday evening. Please know that I
have already contacted the Chicago Police Department to request a
detailed plan for the 2013 Warm Weather Season, to deter these incidents
as the weather continues to improve.
office is working to schedule a meeting with the Police Superintendent
to discuss this recent incident, request more police resources and gain a
better understanding of his strategy to ensure Chicago's Central
Business District remains safe and secure this summer for downtown
residents and visitors alike.
Saturday evening, large groups of teenagers converged on the
intersection of Chicago Avenue and Michigan Avenue. According to the
Police Department, there were approximately 400 youth in the crowd, with
roughly 50 police officers originally detailed to the area. This large
crowd gathering was orchestrated via social media (Facebook and Twitter)
messaging, predominantly by teenagers and some individuals in their
the Police Department witnessed the crowd growing and becoming
increasingly volatile, the Commander of the 18th District redeployed
additional police resources from other areas of the District to Michigan
Avenue. There was a substantial surge in police presence at this
location when fighting finally broke out between different groups of
teens in the larger crowd.
Police Department reported that there were no robberies during the
incident, and the multiple battery charges and arrests were fights that
broke out between rival groups of teenagers in the large crowd that
assembled at this location. The Police reported a few pedestrians
received minor injuries when the youth were fleeing the Police and
bumped into them on the sidewalk - but no pedestrians were targeted by
Thanks to the swift response from the Chicago Police Department, a total of 29 arrests were made downtown on Saturday evening.
we should always praise our officers for excellent police work
resulting in arrests, it is just as important to prevent these crimes
from occurring in the first place. This is why it so important for the
Police Department to assign additional, high-visibility resources to our
downtown commercial corridors during the warm weather months -
especially at the start of the season.
am most concerned about Saturday's incident, not only because I live
just a few blocks from the area where it occurred - but because worry
for the safety of the Central Business District has become a perennial
concern for downtown residents and businesses. It's time Chicago commits
to a permanent solution.
I do not manage the Chicago Police Department, I do take these
incidents very seriously and will be aggressively lobbying Mayor Emanuel
and Superintendent McCarthy for more resources, including additional
foot patrols, bicycle police officers and more CTA police details in the
want to thank the brave men and women of the 18th and 1st Police
Districts for their excellent police work on Saturday evening -
aggressively managing this very large, volatile crowd of teenagers. They
reacted quickly and professionally in response to this incident, and I
am truly grateful for their service.
a swift, professional response to these incidents is not enough. We
need increased police presence and visibility in the Central Business
District during the warm weather to prevent these events from occurring
in the first place.
goal is to meet with Police Department leadership this week for the
purpose of securing a permanent commitment of enhanced police resources
(and visibility) during the warm weather season, to help keep downtown
Chicago a safe place to live, work and visit.
I have met with Superintendent McCarthy and his team to discuss their
plan to prevent future incidents, I will report back to you with next
steps. Thank you in advance for your patience as I work to resolve this
very serious concern.
Alderman, 42nd Ward
Federal Financing Sought for Continuous Walkway on Chicago Riverwalk
April 1, 2013
U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) has inviting the City of
Chicago to submit a formal application for a federal loan to complete
the Chicago Riverwalk along the main branch of the Chicago River. The
invitation moves the project to the last stage of USDOT's rigorous
review process. The Chicago Riverwalk is the first project to reach
this stage since Congress significantly expanded the USDOT's
Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act (TIFIA) program
Secretary Ray LaHood cited the positive results of the initial review
of the project as the basis to invite Chicago's formal submission to the
federal loan program, a significant step in securing a federal loan to
significantly cover the cost of the transformative development project,
which will build a continuous walkway and recreational amenity
connecting the lakefront with the heart of downtown.
TIFIA program provides federal credit assistance in the form of direct
loans, loan guarantees and standby lines of credit to finance
infrastructure projects across the country. The City is requesting
approximately $100 million from the TIFIA loan program, which will cover
the vast majority of the project.
Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been working on the
Chicago Riverwalk since East-West Wacker Drive reconstruction began in
the 1990s. The roadway was reconfigured to accommodate the expansion of
the Riverwalk to promote a pedestrian walkway and activate the space as
a public amenity. The East-West Wacker Project included utility
build-outs for the future Riverwalk build-out for the entire length from
Michigan to Lake Street.
reconstruction of Wacker Drive was funded in part by the Federal
Highway Administration, and the Vietnam Veterans memorial west of Wabash
Avenue was financed in part by $5 million in federal funds, both of
which were secured by U.S. Senator Dick Durbin. Senator Durbin also
secured $480,000 for engineering of the Riverwalk in 2005 and these
funds will contribute to the current project.
Durbin's efforts and advocacy for this project were instrumental in
getting the Federal Highway Administration to recognize this project as a
more comprehensive roadway and pedestrian project to improve the flow
of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians in a safe and efficient manner
on the street, sidewalk and riverwalk.
2009, CDOT completed the first phase of the Riverwalk build-out at
Michigan Avenue and Wabash, which was funded through Tax Increment
2010, CDOT issued an RFP/RFQ for the team to finalize the design of the
framework plan developed through the city's Riverwalk Development
Committee. In May 2011, the chosen design team of Sasaki Associates
Inc., Alfred Benesch & Co., Ross Barney Architects and Jacobs/Ryan
Associates began work on the design plans for the next six blocks from
State to Lake.
The Riverwalk design plans include conceptual ideas for each of the six blocks from State Street
west to Lake Street with distinctive identities and purpose,
thematically named: The Marina (from State to Dearborn); The Cove
(Dearborn to Clark); The River Theater (Clark to LaSalle); The Swimming
Hole (LaSalle to Wells); The Jetty (Wells to Franklin) and The Boardwalk
(Franklin to Lake).
bridges over the river establish a boundary between each block, which
allow for each to have a unique identity and landscaping. Each block
will be linked by the continuous walkway along the river, beneath each
bridge. The design of the blocks has considered the previous
feasibility studies and the changing operations of the waterway.
United States Coast Guard and Army Corps of Engineers and other
waterway stakeholders - community groups, commercial operators and the
recreational users of the river - continue to play an important role in
shaping the development of the Riverwalk plans.
To read the full press release, please click here.