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Chicago Pedway
October 22, 2008 8:34 PM   Subscribe

Wait - Chicago has a pedway?
posted by LSK (53 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
And a very nice pedway it is. Saved me from the cold many times the winter I worked downtown.
posted by jeanmari at 8:38 PM on October 22, 2008


Um... yes. Yes it does.

Pssst, also: New York has a kickass subway and L.A. has "freeways". Pass it on.
posted by rokusan at 8:39 PM on October 22, 2008


But San Francisco doesn't have Segways.
posted by eschatfische at 8:42 PM on October 22, 2008


Wouldn't you rather have a skyway?
posted by gimonca at 8:47 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


San Francisco has Segways. Lots of them.
posted by louie at 8:51 PM on October 22, 2008


My first visit to the USA was to a conference in downtown Chicago, in bitterly cold weather. It was four days before I realised that the reason it was only me and the crazy homeless people walking on the streets was that there was somewhere much more comfortable to be underground. WHERE WAS THIS POST IN 1996?
posted by nowonmai at 8:54 PM on October 22, 2008 [3 favorites]


Montreal's pedway (aka The Underground City). They actually do a 1,000 person race through a 5km section of "corridors, tunnels and halls; with over 1,000 steps to climb and descend, and five different course surfaces to cover: granite, terrazzo, wood, carpet and cement! Last year, our swiftest contestants completed the course in fewer than twenty minutes."
posted by furtive at 9:04 PM on October 22, 2008


Doh, link to Underground City.
posted by furtive at 9:04 PM on October 22, 2008


Of course it does, I thought everyone knew that.

It has a Skyway, too, by the way.
posted by paisley henosis at 9:04 PM on October 22, 2008


Calgary's version is called the Plus 15, almost all above ground. PDF map.
posted by Mitheral at 9:11 PM on October 22, 2008


Infested with bears from what I here.
posted by Sailormom at 9:17 PM on October 22, 2008


Ha, this post gave me the opportunity to edit the Wikipedia page and add a link to the worlds largest pedway system. How ya like them apples?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:21 PM on October 22, 2008


d'oh. Scoop'd by Mitheral. I'll get you kids, and your little dog too!
posted by blue_beetle at 9:22 PM on October 22, 2008


Don't forget the additional sixty miles of abandoned freight tunnels beneath Chicago. (Free of mad arsonists since 2002!)
posted by Iridic at 9:36 PM on October 22, 2008 [2 favorites]


The first link led me to the entry for underground city, which is really cool.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:41 PM on October 22, 2008


Wouldn't you rather have a skyway?

High above the busy little one-way?
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:47 PM on October 22, 2008 [4 favorites]


Surprisingly, Houston's pedestrian tunnel system is really large. According to Wikipedia, Houston's system covers 95 blocks versus Chicago's 40.
posted by karson at 9:53 PM on October 22, 2008


Chicago even has two Midways!
posted by me3dia at 9:57 PM on October 22, 2008


Also pretty cool is Chicago's 3D street system!
You may have recognized it in the Dark Knight.
posted by i less than three nsima at 9:57 PM on October 22, 2008


There are also several bars in the pedway, and they link to hotels with more bars. Everything I learned about the pedway, I learned from the pedway pub crawls we used to do with some regularity. It also has a grocery store. That sells booze. What? It gets cold in Chicago in the winter...
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 10:22 PM on October 22, 2008 [1 favorite]


Well, these aren't all good. They might keep people from getting cold in the winter, but they're a hindrance to creating a nice, walkable environment (and the political will to create one) at street level. As semi-private spaces they discriminate against the homeless and segregate inner-city communities.

Put a coat on and get some fresh air.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:39 PM on October 22, 2008


The pedway rocks! I recently learned about when I had to head to the Daley center with my boss during a rain storm. And here I'd spent all the previous times grabbing an umbrella and getting wet. I was such a stupid man ...
posted by Arbac at 11:04 PM on October 22, 2008


Used to take the Blue Line in, worked in the Chicago Cultural Center, dabbled in KRIS Radio once and a while, had breakfast at the Subway's more times than I care to admit. And yeah, that tiled tunnel portion always smelled like pee; even tried to stop a guy who'd just stolen something from a news vendor in that tunnel, and almost lost my briefcase in the process. Pedway memories.

I'd almost forgotten I once had a job where I needed a briefcase. Now I wear torn jeans to work. Life is good.
posted by davejay at 11:10 PM on October 22, 2008


Put a coat on and get some fresh air.

I'm thinking you've not needed to commute to the office on foot somewhere in the loop area at 8:45am in fuckin' January, when the -20o, 25mph wind is cutting right through you.

I'm all for the great outdoors, but f that noise.
posted by ninjew at 11:18 PM on October 22, 2008 [6 favorites]


Wow! Cool!
posted by serazin at 11:46 PM on October 22, 2008


Put a coat on and get some fresh air.

Ever been in Chicago in February? When there's a strong easterly coming off the lake, roaring up the Chicago River, and hitting the buildings?

Wind chill, hell. You might be knocked down. The IBM building puts ropes across the plaza so that people caught out can pull themselves into the building.

I'm all for being outside, 80% of the days. But if it's pouring rain, and I'm dealing with clients, I'd rather be dry, and if it's winter, I'd rather not have my skin flayed off.
posted by eriko at 2:39 AM on October 23, 2008


I'd rather be dry, and if it's winter, I'd rather not have my skin flayed off.

The spirit of the Pioneers is truly dead.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:54 AM on October 23, 2008 [3 favorites]


Not only did I not know Chicago had a pedway, I didn't even know what a pedway was. (Although I've used one at O'Hare--I just thought it was a special airport thing.)
posted by DU at 4:54 AM on October 23, 2008


Toronto's got one too: PATH.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:34 AM on October 23, 2008


chicago had a kick ass pedway/double decker sidewalk system that was partially outdoors on the campus of the university of illinois at chicago. most of it was removed in the late '90s, though.
posted by lester at 6:02 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


jimmythefish, I am really impressed at your ability to turn this silver lining into a cloud. We need an award for you.

We'll have it for you next February at 8 a.m. some morning, out on the IBM plaza. Wear a coat and enjoy the fresh air. I'm afraid you'll have to pick it up yourself, because the rest of us will be making our ways to work down in the Pedway, where it's warm.
posted by nax at 6:04 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Chicago has a pedway, a skyway, and 2 midways. But no Henway.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:52 AM on October 23, 2008


"Whats a Henway?"
posted by Reverend John at 7:10 AM on October 23, 2008


You weren't supposed to tell anyone! :P
posted by Betty Tyranny at 7:37 AM on October 23, 2008


UB North Campus, which is basically straight out of Logan's Run, also has an extensive set of tunnels and habitrails.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:55 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


About three pounds, same as in town.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:04 AM on October 23, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's a bit depressing to realize that this town's pedway system can be seen in its entirety with GoogleMaps zoomed in all the way. (That autoharp-shaped block on the right--the one that's not hooked up even though it's right there--is my Alma Mater.)
posted by Sys Rq at 8:06 AM on October 23, 2008


Damnit, that pedway was supposed to be ninja-only! Now we'll have to scamper over the heads of the tourists. Thanks, MeFi!

Srsly, tho: jimmythefish, I see from your profile that you're a "Community planner/urban designer". Presumably, at some point in your career, you will have to, or have already had to, convince people of the desirability of the sort of pedestrian access that you're advocating for. Do try to avoid the tone of the common scold that you've achieved here. As someone that has delivered newspapers in the sort of winter weather that Chicago enjoys, as a child, I hardly need an exhortation to "Put a coat on and get some fresh air", but there are quite a few people that are less hardy and whose constitution won't be improved by leaning into the teeth of a howling blizzard, and don't deserve to suffer in order to maintain the purity of some abstruse principle of new urbanism.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:16 AM on October 23, 2008


Yes, yes it does, because when you're visiting Chicago for the first time you're bound to end up in it's stinking, labyrinthine bowels, unable to escape, and convinced you've stepped through time into an Post Apocalyptic dystopia.
posted by The Whelk at 8:26 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do try to avoid the tone of the common scold that you've achieved here.

Ah, yes...because I do take Metafilter as seriously as I take my career. Wasn't meaning to scold, and I certainly wasn't saying these are 100% bad. But here in Calgary the +15 system has gone a long way towards ignoring any sort of planning for pedestrian environments at street level. Sure, from a practical level it insulates the pedestrian envrionment from the weather. I live in Calgary, I understand cold weather. But I also understand that a downtown should be more than a place where you drive into your underground parkade and then scoot around the rest of the day inside in January wearing nothing but shirtsleeves. It's possible, if you have an attached garage, to live an effective life without going outside at all. Ever.

A downtown is not a mall for employees, is all I'm saying.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:54 AM on October 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


As semi-private spaces they discriminate against the homeless
I'm pretty sure most people would think thats a feature not a bug.
posted by Iax at 12:05 PM on October 23, 2008


Actually, I think you're saying that downtown is a mall, but shouldn't be.

I live in Calgary, I understand cold weather. But I also understand that a downtown should be more than a place where you drive into your underground parkade and then scoot around the rest of the day inside in January wearing nothing but shirtsleeves.

Do you understand what it's like to try to actually walk somewhere outdoors in a city in winter? You just end up late to every meeting with soggy pants and a runny nose. I don't see any real reason to defend that sort of thing.

Downtown is for business. If you want the great outdoors, it's exactly the wrong place to look.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:06 PM on October 23, 2008


Girlfriend of mine used to work in the AON building and insist on taking the pedway in the winter. I don’t much like being crowded. But y’know, she was a waifish thing dressed for the office and I’m a gorilla dressed in heavy matterhorn boots, long underwear, face mask and an arctic parka. (She wasn’t from Chicago). So y'know, she won.

Lot of the vets I know take living under Wacker in the winter as a point of pride (they’re not necessarily mentally ill, but they are crazy. I’m trained to survive too, but damn if I want to sleep on cardboard inches from cold concrete when there’s plenty of comfy park district forests around)

I don’t know that the pedway is there to discriminate exactly. The cops pretty much ‘move along’ anyone. I mean, I get it, but it’s a bit of a moot point.
I’d rather put money into shelters than worrying about access to the pedway. It’s an easier push into the politicians.

"Whats a Henway?"

Don’t be silly, it doesn’t roll either direction because hen’s don’t...no, wait I screwed it up.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:08 PM on October 23, 2008


Do you understand what it's like to try to actually walk somewhere outdoors in a city in winter? You just end up late to every meeting with soggy pants and a runny nose. I don't see any real reason to defend that sort of thing.

Downtown is for business. If you want the great outdoors, it's exactly the wrong place to look.


I take transit year-round, but then I choose to live in the inner-city. There are worse things than having to spend 15 or 20 minutes outside every day in the snow waiting for a bus(such as being homeless in the snow) but I think this attitude of yours is precisely why our North Amercian urban environments are mostly shit. And if you have wet pants, you're doing it wrong. Runny nose? I'd rather have a runny nose than be the sort of prick who thinks discriminating against the homeless is a 'feature' and not a 'bug' (I know, not you). But, that's just me I suppose.

I don't happen to think that a downtown should just for business, because in the most functional of cities it's not. A downtown should be for everything, and in a lot of places it is jsut that. It's for business, living, recreating, eating, shopping, interacting with others, making art, displaying art. It's for life. If we thought of them as something more that to commute in and out of every day, as a lot of urban people do, we'd have nicer places which were designed properly for winter environments. Surely a rope outside to make sure you don't blow away could be improved on if enough people thought this was a big priority.
posted by jimmythefish at 1:37 PM on October 23, 2008


Doesn't Bob Newhart walk across is during the opening of his '70's show?


...now I have the theme from the Bob Newhart Show going though my head! It's pretty kick-ass
posted by pellucid at 2:07 PM on October 23, 2008


See also
posted by Navelgazer at 2:38 PM on October 23, 2008


Aside from the bridge between TD Square and Bankers Hall, I haven't been in the +15 (Calgary's biggest-in-the-world skywalk system) in, oh, eight years.

Stephen Ave is clotted- choked- with pedestrians at the lunch hour. This idea that the +15 has killed streetlife in downtown Calgary is very exaggerated. We have the biggest downtown workforce in North America (per capita) and those drones can't only rely on the sidewalks to get from A to B.

After hours, most of the +15 is closed, and if you want to sup at Belvedere or Catch or whatever you have to head outside. +15 is only relevant during office hours; if there is a problem with post-6pm or weekend life downtown (and again, IMHO this is overblown- plenty of downtown restos are packed eves), the +15 has nothing to do with that.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:27 PM on October 23, 2008


This is a circular argument - design a downtown to function as a peak-usage commuter workplace and it will be just that, at the expense of other things. It's nonsense that you can't accommodate people on sidewalks - it's just that our sidewalks aren't really designed to accommodate a large number of people on them.

Again - it's the philosophy of what a city should be that, in my mind, is misguided in a place like Calgary.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:47 PM on October 23, 2008


That's all fine, but I prefer the mountainy elegance of Morgantown WV's PRT. (Previously)
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:47 PM on October 23, 2008


ROU_Xenophobe writes "habitrails"

If only they were that fun.

jimmythefish writes "It's possible, if you have an attached garage, to live an effective life without going outside at all. Ever"

You say that like it's a bad thing. While the privatization of public spaces is a concern I don't think providing public shelter is a problem. I'd love it if they just banned everything but electric vehicles from downtown and then roofed in all the streets with glass.

Iax writes "I'm pretty sure most people would think thats a feature not a bug."

They'd be wrong.
posted by Mitheral at 5:41 PM on October 23, 2008


If you like the cold and bitter wind, walk outside. If you don't, use the pedway. If you are offended that the homeless are excluded from the pedway, then work/donate to create both shelters and public spaces where they can go without being hassled. If you want to be smug and self-righteous, then you have found a home on Metafilter.
posted by nax at 4:53 AM on October 24, 2008


If you want to be smug and self-righteous, then you have found a home on Metafilter.

I'm guessing you exploded in a ball of pure irony just after posting that.
posted by ninebelow at 5:07 AM on October 24, 2008


So glad you got straight to the subtlety of that comment ninebelow.
posted by nax at 5:33 AM on October 24, 2008


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