Friday, June 14, 2013

63rd/Halsted: What would YOU like to see here?

Created this collage of pics using this application called PicStitch and depicts the scene around 63rd & Halsted. The top left and lower right corners are of the buildings of Kennedy-King College. The top right is of the remaining retail still there. The lower left corner is the vacant lot waiting for development. Thanks to the Red Line reconstruction it was much easier to get to this area because all I had to do was transfer at Garfield from shuttle buses to take the Red Line back to Halsted.

Over the years pics of this intersection from back in the day has been posted here. On RAGE's FB page you see yet another pic of this intersection from 1929. Once upon a time it was a very active intersection it was almost like a downtown, but a number of factors hastened it's decline.

Some may blame suburban shopping malls, some may blame white flight, some may blame ill-fated urban renewal schemes. More recently some have blamed the 1994-96 closing and reconstruction of the CTA Green Line as you see in this debate over at Curbed Chicago talking about this very area. If it wasn't for that project whatever life remained here probably could've survived even if it was on life support.

The northwest corner of 63rd & Halsted is vacant with a former fire station that's abandoned and a parking lot from the days when this area was a pedestrian mall where traffic - save for CTA buses - were diverted around the intersection. And up north towards 63rd Parkway is evidence of this former traffic pattern. In any case this part of this area is a blank slate waiting to be redeveloped perhaps once again as the business hub it once was especially for the city college students who go to school here

Speaking of the city college, Kennedy-King College has been open at their new campus since 2007 after the college moved from its former location at 69th & Wentworth. It has been hoped it would revitalize this area although it seems to be slow going at the moment. If it wasn't for this Kennedy-King this intersection would be totally dead.

This leads me to a recurring question as of late. That being what would YOU like to see happen here?

BTW, I have a few more pictures to share of my brief visit here that shall be saved for another blog post however.

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