Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the creation of a task force to propose transportation enhancements to the Museum Campus area. The group, chaired by Metropolitan Planning Council President MarySue Barrett and the City’s Chief Operating Officer Joe Deal, are tasked with surveying current transportation flows and looking for ways to improve pedestrian, public transit, bicycle, and vehicular traffic.
Chicago’s Museum Campus is already home to three of the region’s top ten cultural attractions – the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum of Natural History, and the Adler Planetarium – which serve nearly four million visitors each year. The campus is also home to Soldier Field, the restored Northerly Island, the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion and Burnham Harbor. The potential addition of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will bring even more visitors to the campus.
“For generations our Museum Campus has been a place where Chicago’s children and families have come to learn about dinosaurs, to learn about the aquatic ecosystem, to gaze into the galaxies, and to root for our Bears,” said Mayor Emanuel. “With the additions of a 50-acre habitat restoration project on Northerly Island and the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, two incredible new assets that will increase education opportunities and green space for Chicagoans, there’s never been a better time to review and improve access to the Museum Campus.”
Though a number of transportation options exist to the Museum Campus today, there is significant congestion during peak attendance. The task force will assess existing transportation access conditions and opportunities in and around the Museum Campus, including improvements for pedestrians, transit users, bicyclists, automobiles, tour buses, and water-borne modes. The assessment will identify perceived strengths and weaknesses of the existing infrastructure and services, and suggest opportunities to improve access for both existing and future campus attractions. Among the conditions that will be reviewed are the locations, configurations and capacity constraints of existing infrastructure, the frequency, hours, and routing of existing transit services, and opportunities to better leverage other nearby transportation infrastructure and services.
“The Metropolitan Planning Council’s history is intertwined with improving lakefront access,” said Metropolitan Planning Council President and Task Force co-chair MarySue Barrett. “We have made significant contributions to past improvements, such as the relocation of Lake Shore Drive and the creation of the Museum Campus and Lakefront Busway, and we look forward to being part of identifying fresh solutions for bikers, walkers, transit users, and drivers.”
The task force will be comprised of local museums, governmental organizations and community stakeholders, including representatives from the following organizations:
• Museum campus tenants: Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum of Natural History, Adler Planetarium, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Chicago Bears
• Government agencies: Chicago Department of Transportation, Chicago Park District, Chicago Department of Planning and Development, Chicago Transit Authority, Metra, Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications, Chicago Police Department, Chicago Fire Department
• Community stakeholders: Near South Planning Board, Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance, Chicago Federation of Labor, Metropolitan Planning Council, Active Transportation Alliance