The Riverwalk along the Chicago River takes you under the bridges. Each bridge is on a cycle for refurbishment so, while they are repainted regularly, they do progressively show signs of weathering. Some of them are rather old structures with the iron and riveting being something of a period long gone. I stopped for a while to look at the different colors that the gentle corrosion created. Nothing too drastic but an interesting contrast with the original paint color.
Walking under the bridges along the Riverwalk in Chicago provides a very different perspective that that which you get from above. Some of the bridges have solid deck and others have gridded metal decks which allow light through (and anything else someone might drop). The lattice structures under the deck are ornate yet grubby. They are obscured from most views and get covered in the grime that washes down from above. I am not making this sound very appealing but I find them very cool to look at. The noise of the traffic above is there but slightly isolated which adds to the atmosphere for me. They do put a curved stainless-steel cover over the walkway itself so you are not vulnerable to anything from above ending up on your head which is something I am grateful for.
When we were getting ready to leave Chicago, the city was in the process of extending the river walk. This had originally gone along the river up to Michigan Avenue. The first phase extended the walk to State Street and this was in place by the time we left. The plan was to take it all the way to the branching of the river. A few years have now passed and the plan is now a reality. To get from my hotel to my meetings took me along the river so I checked the walk out.
This proved to be a bit more tricky than I expected as it had snowed the night before and the surface alternated between clear, crunchy with frozen snow and slick with ice. Just what you want when walking close to a river! On the way back, things were warmer and a lot more relaxing. It is too early in the year for all of the businesses to be in place but you can see what will be there. One wine bar was open though with clear plastic igloos to give you some privacy and, more importantly, warmth.
You can now walk from the lake all the way to Lake Street. This is a great improvement and is a lot nicer than walking along Wacker and having to cross the streets at each bridge. Now I just need to find a reason to be back during the summer so I can hang out down there when it is warm!
For cities that are looking at redeveloping their downtown, it seems that a Riverwalk is a popular approach. Pueblo is one of the places that has gone with this approach. I checked it out when getting dinner one evening. There was a brewpub along the river and, after some food and beer, I took a walk along the river. This was an old path of the river but it has obviously been tweaked a bit. There do seem to be some businesses springing up along the river and there were certainly plenty of people out despite the heat and humidity. A lot of them were obviously hunting Pokemon. I wonder whether this will be the center of more development next time I go back.