Da Mare’s Private Road to McCormick Place

A $43 million busway built to whisk conventioneers between downtown hotels and McCormick Place has turned into “the mayor’s road” and should be opened to taxicabs in exchange for a surcharge, Ald. Robert Fioretti, 2nd said Monday.

Fioretti suggested turning the 2.5-mile busway into a money-maker after Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg lifted the veil on a shortcut politicians and contractors enjoy, but everyday Chicagoans know little or nothing about.  …

“I was told by some of the people in Planning that it was a good idea. But then, they came back and said, `No. It’s the mayor’s road.’ That’s what I was hit with,” [Fioretti] said without identifying the city planners by name.

Fioretti said when he argued that Chicago could not afford to maintain a “clout road” for VIP politicians, he was told there were “security reasons” for keeping the road closed to other vehicles. But he was never told precisely what those “security reasons” were.

In Monday’s column, [Chicago Sun-Times columists] Steinberg talked about his ride with County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on the road Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls the “Bat Cave” and Preckwinkle calls the “Magic Road.”

It is accessed only by those fortunate enough to be issued a plastic card that opens a steel gate to the busway that runs along Illinois Central right of way parallel to Michigan Avenue.

Built in 2002 by the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the 2.5-mile roadway was billed as a speedy shortcut for conventioneers staying in downtown hotels and attending McCormick Place conventions.

As Steinberg noted, a trip that takes 25 minutes in traffic up Lake Shore Drive can be completed in just eight minutes.

via Chicago Sun-Times.

I’ve known about this “road” since forever as I used to walk by the entrance regularly.  There are a few “secret” entrances in the South Loop where the gates are almost always up.  I’m surprised folks on bikes are not on this thing all the time.

Regardless, nice to see the mayor serving no one but himself.

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