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The Chicago Pedway as Neighborhood

People often say that Chicago is a city of neighborhoods. Something I’ve been mulling over with tourees on the Pedway Tour is that the Pedway (our underground walkway) is not just a place to move through, but that the Pedway itself is one of our neighborhoods. Chicago, depending on who you ask, has 77 distinct neighborhoods. Well, I’m calling it 78 neighborhoods.

The American Planning Association has a list of qualifications as to what makes a great neighborhood. Now I’m not saying that the Pedway is a GREAT neighborhood, but I think from these questions we can see that it is, indeed, a neighborhood

I’m including ONLY the Pedway in this, but I’m also including it’s connection to great buildings, transit and all of that just as if it was a sidewalk or a neighborhood street.

Does it:

Accommodate multiple users and provide access (via walking, bicycling, or public transit) to multiple destinations that serve its residents.

Most definitely the Pedway does this. It’s origin point is the connection between the Blue Line and Red Line at Washington. It also connects all of the elevated lines and it connects to the South Shore Metra.  Obvs it provides access via walking and there is a guy in who rides his electric scooter up and down under Macy’s, so there are multiple forms of travel even in the Pedway itself.

Foster social interaction and create a sense of community and neighborliness?

You bet! In the neighborhood where I live I wave to the taco guy every day. I don’t know his name or much about his life, but it’s this great urban neighborhood relationship, EVERY TIME I walk by the taco guy, we wave to each other and in all honesty, it’s one of the best relationships I have, heh. It’s the same way in the Pedway, I have all kinds of friends down there, some I know better than others, but I’m always waving to somebody: the guy who owns the Korean restaurant, Bill the Pedway Musician and the security guard in City Hall who every time I walk by with a group calls me “The Famous Tour Guide.” I love that guy. I love my Pedway friends.

Not a very good pic of my good friend Bill the Pedway Musician.

Promote security from crime and is made safe for children and other users (i.e. traffic calming, other measures)?

The Pedway is safer than the streets, there’s no doubt about it. When I first started the tour, I asked cops about the Pedway because I thought maybe I’d get some great getaway story out of it, not so much, they continually say that nothing ever happens in the Pedway. Each building is responsible for their secure Pedway and buildings in this town are pretty on top of security, so the Pedway itself is really safe. In five years I’ve never felt differently. And traffic calming? That’s it’s whole point. Calmest traffic around! Except for the guy on the electric bike.

Use, protect, and enhance the environment and natural features?

That’s the whole point of the thing, so you bet.  I’m not sure I could argue that it “enhances” the environment but it definitely protects natural features – meaning us.

Reflect the community’s local character and set itself apart from other neighborhoods?

Yes, I think it does. Since the Pedway reflects the buildings it’s underneath, it reflects so many aspects of the city. Just like any neighborhood, there are pretty parts of the Pedway, there are some not so pretty parts of the Pedway. There are icky parts of the Pedway with pretty things in them and pretty parts of the pedway with icky things in them. And it definitely does not look like other parts of the city. It’s distinct alright.

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Has design and architectural features that are visually interesting.

Yes. Yes it does. The stained glass windows in Macy’s are unbelievable – there’s a Tiffany window down there! In the basement of Macy’s for petes sakes, A TIFFANY WINDOW. And of course one of the best parts of the Pedway is how different it is in it’s design and features. That’s the best part, just like the city neighborhoods up above, the Pedway changes from step to step to step.

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The other last great thing about the Pedway is that everyone uses it, all colors, all ages, all classes – everyone is down there. Everyone who’s cool anyway…or warm as the case may be.

 

 

 

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The Pedway Tour in the Chicago Tribune!

The Chicago Tribune had an article for “5 Fun Ways to be a Cool Newbie in Chicago,” and the Pedway Tour made it to the list!

My favorite is this:

Hicks, an iO and Second City veteran, walks and talks comedy. With her animated facial expressions, firecracker finger-snaps and entertaining anecdotes, Hicks will enlighten you with little-known Chicago facts, myths and history.

Thank you Chicago Tribune!

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Chicago Elevated loves the Pedway!

The Chicago Pedway Tour Details

 

TIMES: Monday/Thursday/Saturday at 10:30 – The Monday/Thursday start location is different than the Saturday start location.

PRICE: The tour is 90 minutes and is 20$.

EXPECTATIONS: It’s about a mile of walking, there are lots ups and downs, lots of escalators and some stairs, revolving doors, etc. If you have a walker, stroller, etc., be aware that the pedway can get complicated with it’s ups and downs. If you have any questions or concerns about that, just give me a buzz!

DESCRIPTION: This strange, fun and unique tour takes you through one of the city’s least understood spaces, the Chicago Pedway. The Pedway is a series of walkways that connect building to building so that we don’t have to go outside in the winter, or the summer…or ever for that matter!!  But there is oh so much more to the Pedway than convenience stores and Dunkin’ Donuts! Although…SEVEN Dunkin Donuts in the pedway!  It is a strange urban space that even Chicagoans don’t know about.

The entire tour is inside, we are (mostly) warm in the winter and (mostly) cool in the summer.  I will lead you in hilarious and fascinating fashion as we traverse up and down, around and back, up, inside and around and through some of the great buildings of the Loop, the Pedway never does anything in a straight line. We talk about the Pedway itself, but we also talk about Chicago history and architecture; we see great lobbies and there are a couple of instances of Tiffany glass, so you can’t beat that. This is a quirky, fun, affordable tour and I love showing the pedway to people, locals and visitors alike.

The Mon/Thurs tour is more architectural, we’re seeing the pretty interiors of  City Hall, the Thompson Center and Macy’s – truly breathtaking:

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS FOR THE MONDAY OR THURSDAY PEDWAY TOUR – start at 40 W. Lake in the “Gallery of Shops” – we will finish by Michigan and Randolph

The Saturday tour is a little….less apologetic….than the other tour. We still see great buildings like Macy’s and the Cultural Center but then the Pedway gets a little gritty, but like, cool, weird, Chicago gritty.

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS FOR THE SATURDAY PEDWAY TOUR – start at Block 37 – 1 W. Randolph – meet me at the Guest Services Desk – we will finish by Michigan and Wacker

“Margaret Hicks is such an amiable and personable tour guide and is very knowledgeable about Chicago’s architecture, history, facts, and myths. We were shown areas we didn’t know existed and just had the greatest time while staying warm and entertained.” Judi from Memphis

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