Chicago Financial District Doesn't Need a N.Y.C. High Line

An elevated walkway along Chicago’s LaSalle Street would not foster the vibrant street life that proponents envision.

1 minute read

January 15, 2020, 6:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink


LaSalle Street Chicago

wonkanerd / Flickr

Blair Kamin argues that Chicago should not jump on the High Line bandwagon in considering the future of the LaSalle Street corridor downtown. With vacancies on the rise in the area, one proposal considers an elevated walkway stretching over LaSalle to draw pedestrians and energize the area.

But Kamin says this is the wrong way to go for a street with an impressive collection of architectural treasures. "Plop an elevated walkway in this sublime canyon and you would mar the beautifully detailed ground-level facades of LaSalle’s buildings, throwing them into perpetual, Lower Wacker gloom. The street would be rendered virtually unrecognizable."

Instead of what would be a feeble attempt at duplicating other projects, Kamin suggests looking to a longer-term plan for the area, including turning office space into apartments and revitalizing existing public spaces.

"In short, the way to confront the central Loop’s looming vacancies is to build carefully on existing strengths, rather than reach desperately for a hideous quick fix that would destroy one of the city’s great urban spaces," adds Kamin.

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