SOUTH LOOP — The alderman for the South Loop says the battle over the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art isn't over yet.
Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), who asked to be registered as voting against the museum with its final passage in the City Council earlier this week, said Friday that she still has concerns over traffic, parking and pedestrian access in the area, especially as they affect the South Loop.
"All the attention has been on the museum," Dowell said, adding that the smooth-flowing traffic and readily available parking that museum and Park District officials have touted "are exaggerated."
Dowell said she feels that the issues of traffic, parking and pedestrian movement haven't "been adequately addressed by the plan."
The museum was granted final City Council approval this week, without additional debate, but nine aldermen asked to be registered as voting no.
According to Dowell, her issues will come up again with the 18th Street garage proposed across Lake Shore Drive from the museum and Soldier Field. The planned 1,863-space structure, which will have open-area rooftop parking for 386 tailgating spots, was critical to getting the Bears to sign off on the museum.
Yet Dowell pointed to how the garage will need, at some point, to clear the Plan Commission. "I'm focusing my attention there," she said.
"There needs to be more discussion," Dowell added.
South Shore Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) joined Dowell in voting against the museum, but said Friday that her opposition was based on the Lakefront Protection Ordinance. "I don't think it's an appropriate site," she added.
The museum still faces a legal challenge from Friends of the Parks.
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