The Illinois Medical District (IMD) Pedestrian Bridge Concept creates a much needed pedestrian-friendly connection over the Eisenhower Expressway that connects the city’s north and south sides.
The project, as conceived, delineates a meaningful urban axis among important city landmarks: Stroger Hospital, Rush Hospital, Chicago Tech Parks and the United Center. Historically divided communities would be reunited physically and visually, with important focal points of destination along the way. Economically disadvantaged neighborhoods on the west side will also benefit from a direct link to the emerging medical district, and its jobs.
Rada’s goal is to advance a venture that is people oriented and one that is improving quality of life. The current daily population of the district includes 29,000 employees, 9,000 medical/graduate students and 50,000 visitors – numbers that are slated to grow with new building in the area. Pedestrian connections, however, are awkward and long for the harsh Chicago climate, with few, if any, amenities along the way. The strategy provides a semi-covered bridge connection tied to the transit station allowing, visitors and students to have safe, enjoyable and short paths to their destination.
Just one block away is the United Center, which hosts more than 250 events and 20 million visitors annually. Many visitors would also leave their cars behind and use public transportation with connection through the transit station below the bridge. The bridge building would provide 25,000 sf of semi-covered area for restaurants, cafés, and gardens connected to the transit station below. Designed to hover over the bridge, Cloud Towers 1 and 2 would serve as an incubator research and flex space for the needs of the IMD, their powerful silhouettes against the Chicago skyline and the vastness of the west side identifying IMD as an innovation district.