Five years ago we took an in-depth look at the West Loop and ended with the suggestion that it had a ways to go before becoming a pedestrian-friendly urban neighborhood.
The pedestrian experience is at the core of what defines urban life. If you live where you can leave your house to have a pair of shoes fixed or buy some toothpaste or get a bagel and a cup of coffee without having to get in a car, you live in an urban place (or a hotel, but you get the idea). And lack of the pedestrian experience is what most people complain about in the West Loop.
Which isn’t to say that there isn’t any pedestrian experience, it’s just more limited than what you might expect in the heart of the city.
Maybe the West Loop is never going to be Lincoln Park or Lake View or Bucktown – and maybe that’s OK. Jeff Payne sums it up. “The neighborhood is fascinating. It has a little bit of almost everything. The days when you could call yourself a pioneer may be gone,” he says, “but as the density increases, it’s just getting better and better.
“I think we’re about 50 percent there.”
How much progress has the West Loop seen in the last 5 years?