How to make Chicago's new Modern Wing of the Art Institute an even better amenity

    The highly acclaimed Modern Wing, designed by Renzo Piano, faces the wildly successful Millennium Park. Here's a no-brainer: close Monroe Street that runs between the two!

    Truly connect Millennium Park with its sculpture and art to the Art Institute.

    This would also be the easiest way to make it easy for great numbers of people to enter the art museum. Here's the scene as the Modern Wing opened this week:

    Just imagine the above scene with this space landscaped and with sculpture! It'd be a fine new public space for the citizens and the many tourists.

    The automobile drivers survived Monroe street being close on the day above, didn't they? They easily found alternate routes.

    Chicago, especially at its hugely successful Millennium Park, needs to prioritize the people, the walkers, those strolling, enjoying city life. A great thing about Millennium Park is that because it is built over a parking garage it is raised up above the street. It is one of the few public places in the city where you don't see and hear and smell cars whizzing by, as you do in, for example, Daley Plaza. Extend this peaceful, urban, exalting feeling right to the door of the fabulous new Modern Wing of the Art Institute.

    Note to Mayor Daley: for a long time your name came up first when people talked of great American mayors, "green" mayors, visionary mayors. Now I hear more talk of Mayor Bloomberg in New York, as, for example, he closes parts of Broadway to car traffic - starting this Sunday - to make it more friendly to pedestrians. We'll see Manhattan derive great benefits and better quality of life from this progressive move.

    And if better quality-of-life ain't enough, as New York's commissioner of transportation told the Wall Street Journal, "It's a down payment on a better economic environment." (Do read this about her.)

    More and more people want a livable, walkable, quieter city. If New York can close parts of Broadway, why can't Chicago close a part of Monroe?

    More Hello Beautiful! on the Modern Wing here. (Then scroll)
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