WBEZ | Wacker Drive http://www.wbez.org/tags/wacker-drive Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Second phase of Wacker Drive construction to begin, buses to be rerouted http://www.wbez.org/story/second-phase-wacker-drive-construction-begin-buses-be-rerouted-88585 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-30/P1020168.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The Wacker Drive reconstruction project known as <a href="http://www.wackerdrive.org/">Revive Wacker Drive</a> is on track to complete on time and within budget despite experiencing nasty winter weather, CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein said Thursday in a press conference at the intersection of Wacker and Randolph. Reconstruction of roadway from Randolph to Washington has been finished within the six month deadline – Washington is scheduled to reopen to traffic Thursday evening as well as on Upper Wacker from Lake to Randolph.</p><p>Starting July 5, the second part of the $300 million construction project will begin on Wacker, shutting down Madison from Canal to Franklin -- construction is scheduled to complete in December. &nbsp;The construction means <a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/wacker/">rerouting on the following 14 bus lines</a>: #11 Lincoln/Sedgwick, #14 Jeffery Express, #19 United Center Express, # 20 Madison, # 56 Milwaukee, # 60 Blue Island/26<sup>th</sup>, # 120 Ogilvie/Wacker Express, #121 Union/Wacker Express, #122 Illinois Center/Ogilvie Express, #123 Illinois Center/Union Express, #124 Navy Pier, #125 Water Tower Express, #129 West Loop/South Loop, #157 Streeterville/Taylor.</p><p>A CTA spokesperson said that staff will be out on the streets to assist passengers getting where they’re going, and public transit will be the best mode of transportation in the city during this construction period.</p><p>According to chief engineer John Yonan, the reconstruction to the 55-year-old street will increase safety by creating safer, more efficient roadways for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. Specific changes include wider roadways, a new ramp from the upper to lower level at Monroe Street and&nbsp; a new left-turn lane for northbound Wacker at Randolph.</p><p>“With fewer access points [to Wacker],” said CDOT Commissioner Gabe Klein, “there will be fewer conflicts and less stopping and starting.”</p><p>Less stopping and starting will allow traffic to move more smoothly and get drivers to their destinations more quickly, Klein said.</p></p> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 19:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/second-phase-wacker-drive-construction-begin-buses-be-rerouted-88585 Redeveloping Wacker Drive, and Chicago’s riverfront http://www.wbez.org/story/architecture/redeveloping-wacker-drive-and-chicago%E2%80%99s-riverfront <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/riverwalk dan perry.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="../../../../../../blog/justin-kaufmann/video-sarah-jindra-gives-birds-eye-view-wacker-drive-traffic">Traffic has been snarled</a> in the Loop this week thanks to the second phase of <a href="http://www.wackerdrive.org/projects.cfm">Revive Wacker Drive</a>, a major reconstruction of the famous double-decker street. This three year, $366 million endeavor will shore up the stability of the north-south portion of the roadway and will rebuild the Congress Parkway interchange that leads to I-90/94 and I-290.</p> <div>The first phase of Wacker&rsquo;s redevelopment started in 1999 with improvements to the east-west portion of the street. And although it was not the project&rsquo;s primary goal, a second set of redevelopment opportunities arose along the Chicago River. Wacker Drive is just one part of the complex built environment along the river, and Mayor Daley encouraged the project managers to reclaim some of the area in front of the river for public use. You can see the results in the form of the Chicago Riverwalk, which runs along the east-west portion of Wacker near the Michigan Ave. bridge.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The Riverwalk was the first part of a patchwork of plans past and future to improve public access to the downtown portion of the Chicago River. The city&rsquo;s vision for the riverfront was laid out in a 2009 plan developed by Chicago firm <a href="http://www.som.com/content.cfm/www_home">Skidmore, Owings &amp; Merrill</a> and includes wide pathways for walking and biking, a new market district, and theater space. If completed, the project would transform the face of Chicago&rsquo;s downtown. (You can see the entire Skidmore, Owings &amp; Merrill proposal in the extras section below.)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>One key player in drafting plans for future improvements to the riverfront was Michelle Woods. Woods describes herself as a &ldquo;bridge builder,&rdquo; and in this case her meaning is literal. She is a bridge engineer for the Chicago Department of Transportation and was so heavily involved with the development of the under-bridge connections at Michigan and Wabash Avenues in 2009 that she joked they should rename the bridge &ldquo;Michelligan Ave.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>In the audio excerpt posted above, Woods explains what it took to transform the riverfront area along East and West Wacker. (Among other things it took creating new land in the middle of the river and securing an act of Congress.) It&rsquo;s a good reminder of how much work would be involved in developing the north-south portion of the river along Wacker, too. But if you&rsquo;ve been stuck in traffic this week you probably already knew that.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="../../../../../../series/dynamic-range"><em>Dynamic Range</em></a><em> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Michelle Woods spoke to an audience at the </em><a href="http://caf.architecture.org/"><em>Chicago Architecture Foundation</em></a><em> in May of 2010. Click </em><a href="../../../../../../episode-segments/chicago-riverwalk"><em>here</em></a><em> to hear her talk in its entirety, and click </em><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wbez/id364380278"><em>here</em></a><em> to subscribe to the Dynamic Range podcast. </em></div></p> Fri, 07 Jan 2011 17:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/architecture/redeveloping-wacker-drive-and-chicago%E2%80%99s-riverfront Wacker Drive: History revealed http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/wacker-drive-history-revealed-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/wacker drive.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Phase one of the multi-year project to repair Chicago&rsquo;s Wacker Drive is finished. It's part of the <a href="http://www.wackerdrive.org/projects.cfm" target="_blank">Revive Wacker Drive project</a>. But new construction underway this week is still giving plenty of drivers headaches. Last spring, &quot;Eight Forty-Eight&quot; host Alison Cuddy took a tour of the famous thoroughfare with <a href="http://www.prairie.org/bios/studs/tim-samuelson" target="_blank">Tim Samuelson</a>, the man officially known as Chicago&rsquo;s Cultural Historian.</p><p>&quot;Eight Forty-Eight&quot; wanted to learn more about Wacker Drive before it went under the jackhammer. Samuelson said the design of the two-tier drive was unprecedented in its time.</p></p> Wed, 05 Jan 2011 15:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/wacker-drive-history-revealed-0 Video: Sarah Jindra gives bird's eye view of Wacker Drive traffic http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/video-sarah-jindra-gives-birds-eye-view-wacker-drive-traffic <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/mini wacker drive..jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe height="364" frameborder="0" width="485" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/18430384?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ab050d"></iframe></p><p>Our WBEZ&nbsp;Traffic Reporter Sarah Jindra usually gives traffic updates from her studio in NAVTEQ headquarters. It doesn't really have windows. But on the other side of the building, the windows look out on Wacker Drive. So Sarah grabbed her flip camera and gave us a special, unique, WBEZ&nbsp;blog exclusive Wacker Drive traffic update. Have I&nbsp;mentioned how much I&nbsp;love Sarah Jindra?</p><p>Sarah references these links in her video:</p><p><a href="http://www.wackerdrive.org/ReviveWackerDrive_Jan2011Brochure.pdf">Revive Wacker Drive</a> (PDF)</p><p><a href="http://www.wackerdrive.org">Wackerdrive.org</a></p><p><a href="http://www.transitchicago.com/wacker/">CTA&nbsp;bus re-routes</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 04 Jan 2011 16:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/video-sarah-jindra-gives-birds-eye-view-wacker-drive-traffic