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Obama: Pedestrianize Street Next to Presidential Center

Barack Obama supports closing Cornell Drive, a six-lane road next to the future site of the Obama Presidential Center, to automobile access. He cites safety concerns and the need for green space.
May 11, 2017, 7am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Jonah Anderson

Designs for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago's Jackson Park were recently unveiled, and the discussion has turned to transportation. The former president supports pedestrianizing Cornell Drive, "a mostly six-lane road that runs north-south through the park, only a few hundred feet east of Stony Island Avenue, another north-south arterial. Cornell was carved through Jackson Park in the 1960s, despite the efforts of local residents and parks advocates to keep the green space intact."

John Greenfield reports that while some local leaders "have opposed the idea, arguing that it would create carmaggedon, the former president noted that it's important not to get so 'fixated on traffic that we lose sight of what's possible.'"

To assuage concerns about through-traffic and auto access to the site, Obama "added that his foundation is in talks with the city and the University of Chicago about possibly adding parking at the east end of the Midway Plaisance, located just west of the library site, and building a pedestrian overpass to get visitors safely across four-lane Stony Island Avenue."

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Published on Thursday, May 4, 2017 in Chi.Streetsblog
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