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CDOT Presenting Plan For Removing Cornell Drive In Jackson Park Wednesday

By Sam Cholke | August 22, 2017 7:46am | Updated on August 23, 2017 8:49am
 The city said it's close to figuring out how to close two roads in Jackson Park and keep commute times about the same. Initial plans are expected to be shown at public meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.
The city said it's close to figuring out how to close two roads in Jackson Park and keep commute times about the same. Initial plans are expected to be shown at public meetings on Wednesday and Thursday.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

SOUTH SHORE — The Chicago Department of Transportation is expected to unveil Tuesday evening its initial plans for how traffic would work in Jackson Park without stretches of Cornell Drive.

CDOT has spent the past weeks working on a plan to keep cars moving through the park if sections of Cornell Drive were removed for the Obama Presidential Center and Marquette Drive were removed for the plans for consolidating the Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses.

CDOT Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld has been meeting with community groups over the past month as the department works on what improvements would be needed to convince drivers to cut through Jackson Park on Hayes Drive instead of Cornell Drive.

She’s expected to lay out some of the initial solutions CDOT has found at two open houses from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive.

“As CDOT continues to develop plans for proposed changes to the transportation network in and around Jackson and South Shore Parks to support the major investments planned for this area, the feedback we have received from residents is vital to our efforts,” Scheinfeld in a prepared statement announcing the meetings. “We look forward to sharing and discussing the latest plans and designs with residents at this next round of meetings.”

Scheinfeld is expected to explain whether there’s been any major setbacks, such as open questions about whether the Hayes Drive bridge, which has been rated as structurally sound but functionally obsolete by the Illinois Department of Transportation, could handle the added traffic or would need to be rebuilt.

Little of the plans have been seen by the community ahead of the meeting.

At a meeting last week with Obama Foundation officials, community leaders saw an updated site plan. According to nearly a dozen people who saw the plan, it was unclear how many of CDOT’s ideas had been incorporated.

Some initial ideas like building bridges to get people over busy roadways had been scrapped and landscaped medians were instead shown in the middle of Stony Island Avenue, according to those who saw the plans.

It seems unlikely Scheinfeld will say there are major setbacks. She said in late July the department was close to a workable solution that would fulfill the Obama Foundation and Chicago Park District’s desires that travel times through the park remain relatively the same as they are now.