Pier pressure: is the Navy Pier Flyover bike/ped bridge really worth $45 million or is there an alternative?

Everyone agrees that conditions on Chicago's Lakefront Trail between the river and Ohio Street Beach need to be improved. The Chicago Department of Transportation is planning to build the Navy Pier Flyover, a bridge-like structure that would carry trail users up over the river, Illinois Street and Grand Avenue, bypassing these problem spots, at a jaw-dropping $45 million price tag. To put that in perspective, in 2008 the Portland, Oregon, Bureau of Transportation estimated the entire replacement cost of that city's then 300-mile bike network at about $60 million. Today on Grid Chicago Steven Vance proposes an alternative: http://gridchicago.com/2012/navy-pier-flyover-is-it-worth-45-million-or-is-there-another-way/

What do you think: is it worth spending $45 million on the flyover or do you prefer Steven's proposal?

Keep moving forward,

John Greenfield

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This isn't more of the same. The path width provided over the Chicago River on the Lower Lake Shore Drive bridge in my alternative proposal and in the Navy Pier Flyover are identical, which is double the width of the existing Lakefront Trail's path width at this point. 

Juan said:

More of the same...

Juan said:

More of the same kind of intersections, albeit a little bigger, that cause conflicts with pedestrians and olimpic racing wannabes all along the LFP.

Besides, this alternative plan is much better than what exists now and the city should not waste any money on this white elephant flyover. That money should be going to more PBLs.

In all my years of riding the LFP, I've learned to stay away during the day and warmer months. This has all been said before by others I guess.

I like Steven's alternative plan.  It's at least $44.9 million cheaper -and does just as good of a job solving the issues of the LFP in this area.   That money could be better utilized elsewhere -ANYwhere else. 

Nice write-up.  Thanks.

My biggest question is how the funding works, since that determines what I'd like to see implemented.  I see some people in the Grid comments section saying some interesting things about the funds, like: "We've worked for over a decade to raise the money for a world class facility. Besides, the way transportation money works is that you can't just decide to use it for something else."  If this money was raised from the very beginning only in order to build the flyover, well then Randy Neufeld has a pretty good point.  But it would seem silly to not be able to put those funds towards a different, more pressing matter just because?  His other valid point is that it would be a first class solution (better looking, more structurally sound = more tourism dollars etc) to that LFP area's problem, as opposed to a band-aid like solution that others proposed.  I'd like to see your proposed lane on the bridge be protected, though.   



When I look at the Flyover project document, it looks to me like the new pinch point would be the Flyover section between Grand and Illinois, when the new Flyover Lake Front Trail will be wedged between Lake Point Tower and Lake Shore Drive.

Here's what they're proposing. Even in the official drawing, it looks pretty narrow, barely accommodating two skaters:

Next time you're there, stop and look up, and imagine four lanes of people squeezing through. This picture makes it look more roomy than it does in real life:

Yes, I see what you're saying. However, from the section, it looks like the western edge of the Flyover would basically be at the metal support beam seen in the photo, plus a few inches. I'll have to look at it again in person some time, but that still looks very narrow.

Cameron Puetz said:

I believe the plan was to take some space from LSD's shoulder. If you look at the photo, the guardrail on LSD overhangs the girder and column line. If you look at the proposed section, the guardrail is centered of the girder, and the flyover is overhanging the LSD bridge deck.


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