Chicago to welcome transients — It’s a good thing

There’s been a lot of talk among the lakefront set lately about the two new harbors the city plans to open.  The one at 31st street seems pretty straightforward.  But unless you live in the South Loop, who wants to dock at 31st Street?

The other is more interesting — the new docking area planned south of Navy Pier called Gateway Harbor.  This area outside the Chicago River lock is envisioned as having 350 slips.  But more important than that is that 169 of those slips will be for transient vessels.

That means that, for the first time, people will be able to sail to Chicago, tie up at a transient slip, have lunch, take in a show, and then sail off back home to Michigan or the North Shore or Toronto, or Europe, or wherever they came from.  It’s a fantastic idea that is long overdue.

Skippers pay for the transient slips by the hour, like you pay for parking at a parking garage.  High fuel prices notwithstanding, this could open up a whole new tourism avenue for Chicago.

Right now, the plan is to have both harbors open by 2010, but people in the know say that given the current state of the project, that goal is unrealistic.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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