Notes from CDOT and OPC Meeting – 9/12/17

Posted by on October 13, 2017


September 12, 2017

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Representatives from CDOT, OPC, and CPD in attendance to discuss the proposed OPC parking garage on the Midway with MPAC members and community members.


CDoT overview.  Representatives – Aaron Patterson, John Sadler

  • Shared handouts and display boards describing the proposed changes to Cornell, Stony Island, etc. These same displays were available at the public meetings held at the South Shore Cultural Center.
  • Outlined the changes under consideration, some of which were considered in previous plans, including the 1999 framework plans, including closing Cornell and Marquette.
    • “Preliminary design phase.” Need more community input.



  • Traffic Volumes? – 59th St, Stony Island, Lake Shore Drive (LSD).
    • Changes are intended to shift most traffic to LSD and out of the park, but traffic on Stony would also increase. Currently ~27,000 cars/day on Cornell: estimated volume increase of ~6K on Stony Island (14K to 20K, max = 30K), and increase of ~18K for LSD (46K to 64K, max = 65K).
  • Traffic coordination -impact of changes to bus routes. Setting visiting hours with traffic patterns in mind?
  • Access to LSD? -still under consideration
  • Concerns about the Stony & 59th St intersection. -trucks under the viaduct, traffic calming, congestion on 59th, high school, Lab access to park across Stony.
    • Want to improve Stony for drivers and pedestrians.
    • Looking at different busy times
    • Working with Lab School
    • Considering opening 57th St to two-way traffic – further analysis needed
    • Might prohibit right turn onto 59th – further analysis needed
  • Parking – increased demand in saturated area due to OPC visitors looking for free parking. Note: Commuters may fill up a parking garage.
    • OPC visitors will be looking fo
  • Impact of changes to bus routes.


OPC overview.  Representatives – Michael Strautmanis and Roark Frankel

  • Current stage: release of designs, community meetings, focus groups, meetings with organizations. Interested in lots of input and will make changes.
  • At this meeting: Focus on design, timelines, spaces for community use, parking. Also looking at the 1999 plan and entire South Park system.
  • Timeline:
    • Plan Commission by end of 2017. This is not the final design, but will grant OPC permission to build something of a certain size.
    • Ground-breaking in 2018.
    • Opening in 2021
  • Design: 3 buildings—museum, forum, library. The only tall building will be the museum.  Park will be placed on top of forum and library.
  • Parking: Current proposal is to have garage on the Midway that would be buried, but not fully underground. Don’t want to go to water table (reduces cost).  400-450 cars.  Landscaping on top of garage = landscaped mound.  20’tall, 3-4’ higher than Metra tracks.  Bus parking – up against the Metra tracks.
    • Cons to burying it beneath the OPC buildings – a) unattractive; gaping hole on Stony Island; ventilation towers. b) traffic flow; would require a left-hand turn from Stony.
    • Cons to remote parking -Not practical, due to anticipated scale of museum, to shuttle visitors from remote parking.
    • Pros to parking on Midway – would encourage people to walk through the neighborhood. (Note: At MSI, they get 1.4m visitors a year, but is not connected to neighborhood.)



  • Negative impacts on the park: 1) Affects the connection between the parks; 2) Parking lot will destroy Midway as a park, as will a bus terminal; 3) Unfortunate precedent to build a parking garage on parkland; 4) Jackson Park and Midway were to be included in National Register of Historic Places in 1972 – Does this place limits on what can be done with the land? 5) Garage does not fit in with the 1999 Master Plan or 2000 CPD framework plan
  • Design: What is distance from top of garage to Metra? Are there boards showing underground garage?
    • Distance between garage and train tracks – 50’ at north, 100’ from south
    • No design boards available
  • Location: Has OPC moved north from original proposal? Zoning change requires legal notices to people within a certain number of feet and approval.  Activation on street is good, but would be better further south, at 63rd  Is it worth the downsides?  Plan B if the community is opposed to the garage?  People crossing Stony Island?
    • Site boundaries have changed, which allows for track to move.
    • People would have the right to object to a zoning change, but it won’t change.
    • This is the preferred strategy, but is not a done deal.
  • Other parking options: Why not 60th St parking lot? Driveway entrance (not “gaping hole” like MSI.
    • 60th St is privately owned, not offered to OPC.
    • Re: driveway like MSI – want to prioritize community over visitor convenience, make the streets livelier. Obamas want to “activate” the streets near the OPC.
  • Buses park on Hayes Drive now, but won’t be able to if this goes through.
    • Looking into a full solution, for MSI buses and for OPC buses.
  • Economic development – 1) Remote parking would help. 2) Will OPC and garage be private or publicly available? For-profit entity?
    • For-profit, owned by Foundation.
  • Why encourage driving?


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