WBEZ | Dan Ryan Expressway http://www.wbez.org/tags/dan-ryan-expressway Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The South Side before the Dan Ryan http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/south-side-dan-ryan-107313 <p><p><em>Editor&#39;s note: This story was a call for help to complete a story about the expressway&#39;s impact on the South Side. <a href="http://wbez.is/10P09rF">That story</a> is now complete. A hearty thanks to everyone who helped with stories and leads!&nbsp;</em></p><p>Do you or your family members remember the South Side before the <a href="http://chicagoclass.wikispaces.com/file/view/Decoding-Chicago-Traffic-Reports1.pdf">Dan Ryan Expressway</a> was built? We want stories of what life was like on the ground in the neighborhoods surrounding the expressway changed the city forever. (Where exactly is the Dan Ryan? Check out page 10 of <a href="http://chicagoclass.wikispaces.com/file/view/Decoding-Chicago-Traffic-Reports1.pdf">this traffic decoder map</a> to see the span of it)&nbsp;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Dan%20Ryan%20google%20image.JPG" style="height: 150px; width: 250px; float: left;" title="The Dan Ryan cuts through nearly 12 miles of the South Side's neighborhoods. (Source: Google Maps)" /></p><p dir="ltr"><u>Please call and leave us a message with your memories:&nbsp;</u><strong>1-888-789-7752.&nbsp;</strong>Your voice and story may end up on our airwaves!&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Stumped about what to say? Here are a few suggestions to get your juices flowing, but feel free to share whatever story you&rsquo;d like.</p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><ul dir="ltr"><li style="">How did the Dan Ryan change your experience of your neighborhood?</li><li style="">Was it a convenience or inconvenience?</li><li style="">Did anything particularly good or bad result from its construction?</li><li style="">Do you recall any businesses razed or neighbors dislocated because of the construction? If so &mdash; what were they?</li><li style="">What do you remember thinking about the new highway at the time? Was it exciting or a pain?</li><li style="">Are there any places that are no longer around because of the construction that you particularly miss? How did your neighbors or friends feel about the Dan Ryan?</li></ul><p dir="ltr">This story will air on Wednesday, June 5, during&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift">The Afternoon Shift</a>. It&rsquo;s part of a special collaboration between Curious City and the University of Chicago. We&rsquo;re working with the students in a class called &ldquo;Buildings as Evidence&rdquo; to answer six questions about Chicago and this is one of them.</p><p dir="ltr">You can see how this group has been approaching their investigation and what they&rsquo;ve found so far via their reporter&rsquo;s notebook below:</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="750" src="http://embed.verite.co/timeline/?source=0AgYZnhF-8PafdGJGck5DNGRVc2FXemN3d2JpYjcxLVE&amp;font=PTSerif-PTSans&amp;maptype=toner&amp;lang=en&amp;hash_bookmark=true&amp;width=620&amp;height=750" width="620"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">Track the progress of the other investigations done by the University of Chicago class below:</p><ul dir="ltr"><li style=""><a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/archive/question/721">Does present-day Marina City align with the designers&rsquo; intentions? What relation did it have to Chicago&rsquo;s post-war white flight?</a></li><li style=""><a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/archive/question/729">How does all of Chicago&rsquo;s produce come into the city? What&rsquo;s the history of Chicago&rsquo;s wholesale produce markets?</a></li><li style=""><a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/archive/question/723">Chicago&#39;s loop is filled with skyscrapers but outside of the loop there are very few buildings over three stories tall. How did this built environment landscape come to be established today and how does it relate to the historical zoning laws in Chicago?</a></li><li style=""><a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/archive/question/726">What is the role of corporate development in neighborhoods? Why do some corporations reappropriate old spaces while others build new?</a></li><li style=""><a href="http://curiouscity.wbez.org/#!/archive/question/737">What is the origin of Chicago&#39;s distinctive wooden fire escapes? Are they actually effective during fires? How are they related to Chicago&#39;s prevalent mid-block alleys?</a></li></ul><p dir="ltr">Their findings will be posted on WBEZ.org in early June.</p><p dir="ltr">Keep up with all things Curious City via Twitter. Follow us <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZCuriousCity">@WBEZCuriousCity</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 22 May 2013 14:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/south-side-dan-ryan-107313 Who was Dan Ryan? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/who-was-dan-ryan-103979 <p><p>You know Eisenhower and Kennedy.&nbsp;You might have heard of Stevenson.&nbsp;But who was Dan Ryan?</p><p>Glad you asked.&nbsp;This is who Dan Ryan was. . .</p><p>He was born Daniel Ryan Jr. in 1894. Daniel Ryan Sr. was a Democrat office-holder who followed the Chicago political tradition of naming his son after himself. The elder Ryan eventually became President of the Cook County Board. Dan Ryan Woods, at 87<sup>th</sup> Street and Western Avenue, is named after him.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-27--Ryan%20%28Cook%20County%20Board%20photo%29.jpg" style="float: left; width: 249px; height: 335px;" title="'Expressway' Dan Ryan (Cook County Board photo)" /></div><p>Our Dan Ryan grew up on the South Side. He served in the Navy during World War I, then earned a law degree from Chicago-Kent. When Dan Ryan Sr. died in 1923, Democrat leaders followed another local tradition. They appointed his son to the vacancy on the County Board.</p><p>After finishing out his father&rsquo;s term, Young Dan ran the family insurance business for a while. In 1930 he became a candidate for the County Board in his own right, and was elected. He stayed on the Board for the rest of his life.&nbsp;</p><p>Dan Ryan was a Democrat Machine politician, with all that implies.&nbsp;He formed alliances with various factions and gradually built up his power base.&nbsp;As early as 1933, when Anton Cermak was killed, Ryan was in the running to be slated as Mayor of Chicago, but was passed over.&nbsp;His fondest ambition was to become Governor of Illinois. He never made that office, either.</p><p>&ldquo;He lacked the ruthless ambition to reach the top,&rdquo; one writer said.&nbsp;&ldquo;He sat in on all the inner-circle meetings, but usually more as a spectator than a manipulator.&rdquo;&nbsp;And yet, he got things done.&nbsp;Ryan was a big, bluff, hearty man who had few enemies.&nbsp;Republicans were still a factor in local politics, and he got along famously with them.</p><p>In 1954 he matched his father by being elected County Board President.&nbsp;County government was politically-infested then&ndash;just as it had been in the past, just as it is today.&nbsp;But Ryan kept things in line.&nbsp;During his tenure, there were no major scandals.</p><p>Sometimes he rose above politics.&nbsp;When University of Illinois trustees wanted to take over a big chunk of the forest preserve, Ryan stopped them cold.&nbsp;At another Board meeting, a scientist requested money to buy cages for research dogs.&nbsp;Ryan was a dog lover.&nbsp;His response was: &ldquo;The only use we could make of such cages is to put research scientists in them.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/11-27--Ryan%20turns%20a%20shovel%20at%20Brookfield%20Zoo%20%281%29.jpg" title="Ryan launches construction at Brookfield Zoo (Cook County Board photo)" /></div><p>Ryan suffered from asthma all his life.&nbsp;In the spring of 1961, he showed up at a political meeting breathing heavily.&nbsp;Everyone noticed.&nbsp;&ldquo;You fellows are looking at me like I&rsquo;m going to die,&rdquo; he snapped.&nbsp;&ldquo;Well, I&rsquo;ll tell you something&ndash;I&rsquo;ll be around to be a candidate at the next election.&rdquo;</p><p>That was a Thursday.&nbsp;On Friday the asthma was worse, and Ryan went home to rest.&nbsp;On Saturday morning he had a heart attack.&nbsp;He was taken to the hospital and died a few hours later.&nbsp;He was 66.</p><p>Ryan&rsquo;s death was front page news in all four Chicago papers.&nbsp;The politicians issued the usual flowery statements of regret, but most of them seemed genuinely grieved by his passing.&nbsp;At the funeral, the most notable mourner was TV star Danny Thomas.&nbsp;Ryan had been an early supporter of Thomas&rsquo;s favorite charity, and they had become personal friends.</p><p>A bit later, someone recalled that Ryan had proposed using county funds to construct a &ldquo;superhighway&rdquo; back in 1939.&nbsp;Now that he was gone, what better memorial than to name the new South Expressway after him?&nbsp;So it was done.</p><p>And that&rsquo;s who Dan Ryan was.</p></p> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/john-r-schmidt/2012-11/who-was-dan-ryan-103979 Lost on the Dan Ryan http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-21/lost-dan-ryan-96417 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-20/dan ryan_schmidt.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size: 10px;">Listen to John Schmidt talk about street signs on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332734769-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/120221 John schmidt.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>We've been having some fun recently with the technicalities of Chicago street names. Yet sometimes it's important to be precise. Take the matter of our busiest expressway.</p><p>Driving north on the Dan Ryan from the Skyway junction, you encounter a series of overhead signs directing you to the express lanes. The signs warn that if you enter the express lanes, your next exit is 22nd Street.</p><p>Chicago doesn't have a 22nd Street.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-15/02-21--near 59th Street.jpg" title="Dan Ryan near 59th Street" height="357" width="490"></p><p>The city had a 22nd street until 1933. Then Mayor Anton Cermak was killed, and the name was changed to Cermak Road. In some of the western suburbs it's still called 22nd Street. But those towns are at least ten miles away from the Ryan.</p><p>Okay, most of the streets crossing the Ryan have numbers for names, so using "22nd Street" is just following that pattern. Right?</p><p>Except--Roosevelt Road isn't called "12th Street," and Pershing Road isn't called "39th Street." Only Cermak Road has its name discarded. (Is there some anti-Bohemian prejudice at work here?)</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-15/02-21--near 47th.jpg" title="Dan Ryan near 47th Street" height="357" width="490"></p><p>Things get nuttier as you head further north. Now you come to Exit 53. The sign there reads: "Canalport Avenue-Cermak Road."</p><p>They finally put Cermak on a sign, and they've still made a mistake! When you get to this exit, you've already overshot Cermak, and have to backtrack three blocks to find it. It would make more sense to call this exit "18th Street." That's the major cross-street.</p><p>So what's the reason for all these misleading signs? It's actually very simple--somebody messed up when the Ryan opened in 1962, and the city never corrected it.</p><p>Expressway signs are pretty big, but they can be changed. Until 1968, the next-to-last exit on the Stevenson was labeled "South Park Way." When the street was renamed for Dr. King, the old exit signs were quickly replaced.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-15/02-21--exit 53.jpg" title="Dan Ryan Exit 53" height="357" width="490"></p><p>The Ryan was rebuilt a few years ago, and all the overhead signs were temporarily removed. That would have been the time to correct the mistake. I still can't figure out why it wasn't done then.</p><p>Most drivers on the Ryan don't care about these signs because they don't need them--from experience, they already know where to get off. That's not the case with tourists or other drivers who aren't familiar with the Ryan. Nobody knows how many people have gotten lost following these bogus signs.</p><p>The Ryan is an interstate highway, so the signs may be the responsibility of the federal government. Since we have a South Sider in the White House--and his former chief of staff as mayor--ii should be easy to get a few signs fixed.&nbsp;</p><p>After 50 years, it's time to make things right.</p><p><span style="font-style: italic;">And if </span><em>you know of any other misleading signs around town, post them in the "Comments" section.</em></p></p> Tue, 21 Feb 2012 13:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-02-21/lost-dan-ryan-96417