By Blair Kamin
December 23, 2016
It’s warm and dry, free of slush and knifing winds. But tourists and even many locals have no idea it’s there. Even regular users sometimes get lost in its maze of corridors. Oh, yes — it has all the architectural panache of a suburban mall.
We’re talking Chicago’s “pedway” system, that convenient but confusing patchwork of underground tunnels and corridors that snakes beneath downtown.
Even city officials acknowledge the pedway needs a reboot, which is why they’re cooperating with a nonprofit group that’s funding a $125,000 redesign of a pedway stretch beneath Randolph Street. The group will hold public meetings in January.
“The pedway is difficult for many people to navigate. It is not a unified system,” said Howard Learner, executive director of the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center, which views a more heavily used pedway as a way to advance its agenda of promoting energy-saving alternatives to driving.