If it were not for tourism Chicago would have a very difficult time trying to keep its Loop infrastructure going. And while lots of the tourism is international a solid portion is made up of suburbanites who make the trek Downtown, pay outrageous parking costs and endure the chaos of a city on the verge of decline.
There are any number of bicycle rides offered by groups in the city who frankly rely on the participation of suburbanites. And then there are the races, runs, media events and more that are directly designed to bring people into the city and understandably that means suburbanites.
So why then, if congestion is horrific, not simply ban out-of-town cars from the streets of Chicago? If your real goal is to rid the city of congestion, then block the streets entering the Central Loop section and eliminate the congestion. But my guess is that the congestion tax is simply another way to bilk money from outsiders to help balance the budget of a city that is out of control.
Let your darlings have the streets they are threatening to overtake. In fact why not go even further and ban all on-street parking by city residents as well. You could free up the entirety of Milwaukee Avenue and turn Michigan Avenue into a mile-long people’s park.
In order to make up the financial losses that you might incur simply have the Hipsters of the City descend on the various shopping districts and spend money. You could for instance move all of the microbreweries onto a central street like Congress Parkway.
Since you will have closed down that street to ensure that no outsiders are causing congestion, that leaves this roadway wide open for brew pubs. I know that most of the spending that is currently supplied by suburbanites you could make up for with a new casino in the old Post Office building.
I look forward to hearing from the city about their success in having bicyclists from the various communities on the North Side. Merchants are sure to find a ready made clientele in the Hipsters of the North Side.
If this entire de-congestion thing works out, you could turn the LSD into a 20-mile long park. Open it to bicycles which will of course mean that the Bike The Drive Ride will probably be hurt a bit, but without all those pesky suburbanites cluttering up the landscape everyone in the city will breathe a sigh of relief.