Group proposes Chicago Pedway makeover plans

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The tunnel system that runs under Chicago's Loop neighborhood has been around for decades.

Now, there is a plan to spruce up the walkway, which pedestrians can use with it's too hot or cold to be outside. The tunnel links more than 50 buildings, as well as Metra and subway stations, and is used by thousands daily.

The Environmental Law & Policy Center proposed the upgrades, which seeks to revitalize the main stem of the pedway along Randolph Street from Millennium Station to the Thompson Center.

"If we had better navigation, signage and better coordinated, we activated it arts and entertainment it would be a really cool place," said Howard Learner, executive director of the Environmental Law & Policy Center.

The Chicago Loop Alliance said they support the idea of making the pedway a cool place which gives a different city experience.

Alliance president/CEO Michael Edwards said attracting retail underground is key.

"There are certainly challenges with this one, multiple property owners, it doesn't connect everyone, but it seems to us worth the time and effort to see if we can get more out of it," Edwards said.

Vendor Celeste Garcia believes her pedway snack stand, located between City Hall and the Daley Center, would improve with upgrades such as better signage and lighting. She believes other businesses would follow.

"There is a lot of room in the pedway for businesses," Garcia said.

Paying for this plan is another issue. However, Learner said he projects thousands, not millions of dollars would be needed. He notes that 95 percent of the investment is made already since the pedway is already built.The remaining 5 percent is to make it look good.

And pedway users agree.

"If there were other attractions, I'm confident it would be a good reason to stay longer, usually I'm right in, right out," said Kurtis Abrams, a pedway user.

"It's kind of drab place down here, I think it's worth an upgrade people would use it more," said pedway user Bruce Moschell.
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