Thursday, April 1, 2010

Great April Fool's Day Joke: Mayor Daley closes Michigan Avenue to Cars

Ted Rosenbaum of the Elevating Chicago blog posted a great April Fool's Day Joke: Mayor Daley Closes Michigan Avenue to Cars. Rosenbaum calls this "Meigs Field 2.0" in a reference to Mayor Daley's decision to close Meigs Field in the middle of the night for what he then referred to as "safety reasons."

I've long argued that the "end justified the means" with Meigs Field. My point is that while the means used by Mayor Daley were "extra-legal" at best, that the end of Northerly Island being a place for people to hike, bike, picnic, plan native plants, etc. far outweighs the means. Northerly Island is beautiful and a crown jewel in Chicago's lakefront. In short, I feel that the public policy considerations are so great that whatever happened with Meigs Field is ultimately justifiable.

However, as a stricly legal matter, Mayor Daley, as Mayor of Chicago, did not have the authority to close Meigs Field. Hizzoner claimed that he received authorization from then Director of Homeland Security, Tom Ridge, to keep Chicago safe in the wake of 9/11. Ridge later denied that he gave any authorization to Mayor Daley. There's a nice summary of these events on Wikipedia.

Count me in as someone who wouldn't mind seeing Michigan Avenue closed to cars. As long as buses and emergency personnel could get through, there's no harm in it. It would decongest the area but still allow it to be accessible.

And it'd be a bicyclists' paradise.