The OPC folks got it right, removing Cornell Drive a benefit to South Side’s ecology

To the Editor:

I feel that the decision to turn the Jackson Park section of Cornell Drive into parkland is a very good decision.

In the ‘90s, my friend and colleague, Michael Burton, a founder of the Critical Mass bicycle protests, constructed a “float” for the Bike-the-Drive event with a banner that read “DE-PAVE-THE DRIVE.” The Obama Presidential Center (OPC) plans to do just that. The elimination of part of Cornell Drive will provide pedestrian access to the Wooded Isle nature preserve and to Lake Michigan’s beaches at 57th and 63rd streets. The safety of the visitors to the OPC and the Wooded Isle will be protected when the three lane sometimes 50-miles-per-hour Cornell Drive highway will be removed. Lots of pollution causing runoff from the asphalt of the drive will be replaced by grass and trees.

The Friends of the Parks and the citizens who are working to protect BoboLink Meadow and other sites deserve to be listened to.

If we work together, we can find a way to re-route traffic that will reduce pollution and address the commute time issue.

But, in the tradition of us tree-huggers of the ‘60s who protested the construction of the south portion of Lake Shore Drive in the first place, Cornell Drive must go.

Ed “Rock” Sehr