Chicago's hub-and-spoke transportation system serves to prolong segregation in Chicago's neighborhoods, according to a recent story at Medill Reports Chicago:
Some Chicagoans and transportation experts think long travel times could be a creating more than just an inconvenient travel experience; it could be a contributing factor that’s keeping Chicago’s neighborhoods segregated.
Pilsen residents gathered at the National Mexican Museum of Art recently to discuss the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan and called for a better transportation system to help connect Chicago’s diverse communities. A common complaint at the meeting was a lack of cultural interaction among Chicago neighborhoods.
I can see some merit in the argument. The long distance - and time - to get from south to north in the city, or even worse, from south to west, certainly exacerbate a long-term, deep-rooted problem of segregation in the city. But the CTA suggested a solution in 2002 - the Circle Line. However, even Chicago-l.org called the plan "highly conceptual."
The proposed Red Line extension to 130th Street could help, but only for those who south of 95th Street.
Other transit experts don't buy the Medill story theory. “I’ve never heard of the conclusion that [the El] is a barrier between neighborhoods,” said Steve Schlickman, executive director of the Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois Chicago. “The El and commuter rail systems have maintained and fostered vital hubs of connectivity.”