Most Chicagoans know we have a Chinatown, but most don’t know how to get there. Why? Because of I-55, the Stevenson Expressway. It creates a wall that restricts the flow of tourism south. If we build a new park and walkway over a relatively short segment of the Stevenson, it will not only create green space will be a much-needed asset to the surrounding community, but will also serve as a bridge to encourage tourists to visit and go explore new areas of the city.
It’s time to empower and support our neighborhoods between McCormick Place and Chinatown in a transformation that that will expand the tourist experience to the south.
From the South Loop to Chinatown, Motor Row to Pilsen, we need to create unique new entertainment zones that that are authentic to who we are. Think Beale Street in Memphis, the Toronto Entertainment District, Powerplant Live in Baltimore, Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego or Sixth street in Austin - but done in a way that reflects Chicago’s culture and history.
Think about taking a river journey to a creative industry district where artists work, live and play.
Imagine boarding a tour boat at Navy Pier and floating down the Chicago River past Ping Tong Park on a programmed journey that ends at Cermak Road...and is coupled with other transportation that could turn the 1.2 miles between McCormick Place, Chinatown and Cermak into a vibrant new area with both culture and amenities for all.
You have been listening to Lamar Johnson of Gensler, Chicago. The Cermak video features Phil Enquist of SOM, Chicago.