Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring Fix-Its and Digs: Metra Midway Viaducts and CTO Building Site

posted by richard gill

Midway Viaduct Repairs

It is spring once again, and in Hyde Park there are some welcome sights and sounds of air compressors, diesel excavators, front end loaders, and the backing-up beep, beep, beep of heavy equipment.

Some things are getting done that needed doing.

For instance, Metra is using Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funds to repair the viaducts across 59th Street, the Midway, and 60th Street. Much work still needs to be done at this station (we called the staircase from the 59th Street Metra platform the "Stairway to Hell" last spring). But still, it's a good project; no controversy there.

New Chicago Theological Seminary Site Preparation

Also, the U of C has begun the construction of new headquarters for the Chicago Theological Seminary at 60th & Dorchester. Good project; controversy there. Remember the “community” garden on what is now the construction staging site abutting the actual construction? The gardeners insisted on remaining on the University-owned property during and after construction. They said the staging could just as well be done a couple of blocks away. Well, yeah, but at what cost, along with neighborhood disruption and safety problems as material and equipment is moved over the street?

That the Seminary is being built is good news. Even better: For once, a strident clique of Hyde Parkers was sent packing, along with their silly claims of entitlement and righteousness. For the greater good, the garden got moved. The carrots and radishes will grow again, perhaps on less sacred ground. But they will grow.

Nice as these two projects are, it’s too bad that they’re public works or U of C-sponsored. Private sector development in Hyde Park remains stymied by … well, just read some of the past entries on this blog.


Nord said...

I get the feeling this post exists only to get in a childish dig at the community gardeners. Grow up and move on.

chicago pop said...

People need to grow up and move on:

"[F]or us it's never over."

-- Connie Spreen, March 4, 2010
"Expelled from the Garden", Chicago Reader

David Farley said...

We can only dream of the utopia that would be a Hyde Park free of public works and University of Chicago projects.

Anonymous said...

I see nothing wrong with this post. Every time Spicer or one of the others blocks yet another project in Hyde Park they gloat relentlessly about it for weeks afterward. Turnaround is fair play.

chicago pop said...

For them, Greg, "it's never over."

Richard Gill said...

Quotable quotes:

Connie Spreen: "[F]or us it's never over."

Yogi Berra: "It ain't over till it's over."

At least Berra was reasonable enough to acknowledge that some day, it MIGHT be over.

WoodLawn Jack said...

I absolutely loved how the snotty 80% HP gardners were so happy that the University could've used the lot at Woodlawn and 61st, again, for staging. "Screw the people who actually live in Woodlawn and use 61st--don't you know we're hyde parkers?"

Nord said...

So it seems absurd to you, even "snotty", that anyone would rather the University use an already empty lot for staging than a lot being used for a garden?

WoodLawn Jack said...

No, it seems abusrd to me that a bunch of snotty hyde parkers claimed the little garden was all about bringing woodlawn and HP together. And then they suggest that the fix to make their precious lives easier is to screw up Woodlawn Ave. in addition to Dorchester.

So, yes Nord, I think all those people who claimed the garden was about bringing HP and woodlawn together would've been absolutely delighted to tear up all three of the streets that connect woodlawn to HP. Nord--did you drive on 61st daily when the U was using it to ferry materials to a building site? Do you regularly drive down Dorchester or Ellis? Do you own one of the condos on 61st?

So, yes, I feel perfectly justified in calling the gardners snotty for the ease with which they felt they could inconvenience the daily lives of hundreds of woodlawn residents just so they could keep a garden.

Nord said...

Jack, your rage is palpable, and impressive. I doubt anyone in Hyde Park would take delight in inconveniencing you, but maybe I'm wrong. I do feel justified in saying maybe you have a bit of a complex regarding Hyde Park and Woodlawn.

WoodLawn Jack said...

Call it rage if you like. I just find HPers to tend toward believing that their pet projects are the most important thing in the world. Your utter failure to realize that your self centered desires can not always be met because other people exist shows more of a failure than me disliking your attempting to dictate what is best for my neighborhood.

Lets pretend for a minute that the gardners had convinced the U to use the lot at 61st and Woodlawn. Now from the corner of that lot I can hit a nine iron and put the ball in Ald. Cochran's front yard. I can also on a single night put 100 flyers on car windows just on 61st between woodlawn and dorchester. The number of calls the U, the Alderman, and the HP paper would likely get would make the gardners foot stamping look down right foolish. Any gardners who showed up at the ensuing woodlawn/University community meeting would likely be a small minority who would not be well received.

HPers seem to be all about community meetings yet I didn't hear any of them ask for input when they so graciously offered to mess up 61st again, as well as Woodlawn ave. Do you still really believe that using the former garden was not the best option?

Maybe it is a complex--so Nord what do you think Jack Spicer would be saying if the University made plans to turn a large section of 57th street into potholes and dust for the 3rd straight year. The gardners callously dismiss the concerns of the actual residents of woodlawn when you know damn well you wouldn't even consider suggesting that fix for your own neighborhood. Thanks.

Face it--the garden was not some noble cause, it was simply a pet project for HPers. I am truly sorry that you may have to actually cross 61st if you want to find another vacant lot--whether you walk or drive I suggest avoiding dorchester as it is going to be very dusty and potholed for quite a while.

Nord said...

Jack, I hate to tell you, but the streets are torn up everywhere in Chicago, including Hyde Park. You might imagine the streets in HP are paved with gold, but I assure you they are not. Have you driven on Lake Park recently? Or does your complex prevent you from travelling north of 61st?

WoodLawn Jack said...

Nord, I hate to tell you, but there are empty lots everywhere in Chicago, including Woodlawn. You might imagine the Garden on Dorchester grows gold, but I assure you it does not. Have you planted anything on land that is actually in woodlawn? Or does your complex prevent you from travelling south of 61st?

"Malunda replied that the University promised the neighbors of that space they would no longer stage any construction there." I admit my reasons for not wanting all three streets that go north from 61st to be pot holes is self centered. Now if you wanted to talk about opening up University and Kenwood for through traffic and installing roundabouts on 61st to control traffic flow you might get some people willing to listen. Hell, I'd even go for using woodlawn and 61st for staging as long as the trucks only used Kimbark and 60th. The numerous people who actually live on 61st however would probably have a very different opinion than mine.