Judging from the comments on this prior Curbed post and the Tribune's reporting on the Navy Pier Flyover, people are pretty confused about some aspects of the plan. That's understandable, given the limited scope of the renderings that had been released before today. This morning, we gave David Steele from the architecture firm Muller + Muller a call to try to clear some things up. Muller + Muller is working on the first part of the three-phase project, which is the part spanning Ogden Slip to Jane Addams Park, as well as a ramp heading east, towards Navy Pier. Steele was nice enough to send along a PowerPoint presentation with some new renderings and an overview of the whole project. In the new images, the elevated path actually looks quite elegant, and as Blair Kamin notes, the "skeletal design could look as good from below as from above."
First, in response to untitledreality's question regarding "the fifteen foot tall barricade they show in the rendering," Steele explains that the screen is actually a "security barrier," and the only part of the path where the screen is tall is the portion near Lake Point Tower. They designed it that way because residents of Lake Point Tower were concerned about people jumping onto the building's podium. Also, Steele says that the material used for the screen will be perforated aluminum, so you should be able to see through it anyway. As for why the bridge will be so close to Lake Shore Drive, Steele says that on the northern edge of the plan, near Lake Point Tower, the space the path will negotiate is so narrow that there's nowhere else to put it.
Steele also points out that the two images we posted yesterday actually compare the Calatrava rendering, which goes over the Chicago River, to the Muller + Muller rendering that spans Ogden Slip. Not a good comparison, but that was the only rendering we had at the time. The portion of the path that will go over the river is part of the 3rd phase, which Muller + Muller isn't working on, and Steele says he doesn't know too much about it. CDOT's plans call for expanding the current sidewalk on Lower Lake Shore Drive, and tunneling through the bridge houses (see the 6th photo in the above slide show). That phase is the only part of the plan that still requires funding, and we assume that the plan could still be subject to change. So far, we haven't been able to reach anyone at CDOT for comment.
· Hooray for the Flyover—But We Could've Had a Calatrava! [Curbed Chicago]
· Newly-approved lakefront overpass is no bridge to nowhere [Cityscapes]