Parks and Transit: Can the City Stay Green with No Green?

By JoshMogerman in News on Jan 2, 2011 9:30PM

2011_01_02_LGriders.jpg
CTA Overpass [chelseagirl via Flickr]
What will a post-Daley Chicago look like? And will the City’s green aspirations continue under his successor? The Trib’s architecture critic Blair Kamin is the latest to ponder the question with his excellent piece asking “Will Chicago think big after Daley?”

Noting that only five mayoral candidates bothered to take part in a December forum on the environment — and Rahm Emannuel was not among them— Kamin looks at some very high profile building projects to see if the next Mayor can continue Daley’s “builder in chief” mantle despite the fiscal hurt that has been put upon the City’s coffers. With the candidates staying mum on green issues, it is reasonable to wonder where they stand on high profile projects with significant price tags, like the Bloomingdale Trail or an actual recycling program.

One early tip might come from reactions to a document sent to all mayoral candidates last month. A coalition of environmental and public transportation advocates (including the Active Transportation Alliance, Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Natural Resources Defense Council) delivered the Sustainable Transportation Platform, highlighting necessary upgrades and priorities for the next administration; including a continued focus on bike accessibility, increased transit funding, expansion of rail service and embrace of high-speed rail, improvements to lakefront trails, and bus rapid transit lines. While none of the candidates have yet to respond, we think the tens of thousands of members (and interested voters) that the groups represent may be hard for candidates to ignore---which is more than we can say for our local transit system, which has been sadly ignored for years.