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Thread: Chi-town Planners, A question about Midway Airport...

  1. #1
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Chi-town Planners, A question about Midway Airport...

    As some on here may know, I am sort of an aviation buff. I have often wondered, with the proximity of Midway Airport in Chicago... what are the neighborhoods adjacent to the airport like?
    growing up in Denver, I remember houses being just across Quebec Street from the (now closed) Stapleton Airport, some of them being right under the active runway (for east-west ops). This neighborhood was kind of run-down (if I remember correctly) because a lot of people (besides me) would not want to live under the paths of a departing 727.

    Any info on the Midway neighborhoods would help, just for my interest in both planes, and planning.

    Thanks in advance
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    I would characterize the area around Midway as pretty similar to what you experienced at Stapleton. They are largely older suburbs with small houses and strip commercial. MIdway would be a good candidate for closure, with some quality infill development taking its place.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    I would characterize the area around Midway as pretty similar to what you experienced at Stapleton. They are largely older suburbs with small houses and strip commercial. MIdway would be a good candidate for closure, with some quality infill development taking its place.
    Cardinal is mostly right here. I live 3 miles south of Midway, and the neighborhoods that surround it are medium-density city neighborhoods built mostly between 1945-1955. Most of the homes are Chicago-style ranch homes on 30-foot wide lots, and the commercial uses are of the strip variety, located on the major streets.

    The area has long been a white ethnic enclave of Polish, Irish, Italian, Lithuanian and other peoples, but the recent influx of Hispanics, predominantly Mexican, has really changed the makeup of the area.

    I'd disagree with Cardinal about Midway being a candidate for closure. Yes, Midway is hemmed in and has no room for growth, but it fills its niche well -- an alternative to O'Hare that specializes in short-haul, discounted passenger flights.

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    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    Ten years ago, Midway would have been an outstanding candidate for closure. There were, what? Four flights a day? Now with O'Hare way beyond capacity and Midway being a major airport for Southwest and the other budgets, it ain't gonna happen.

    My boss lives near Midway and refuses to fly out of O'Hare. It's "too far," so one time he took a six hour layover to avoid the direct flight from O'Hare. He can be a bit of a nut sometimes.

    Midway has sound requirements for the airplanes landing there, btw. The approaches to O'Hare over places like Downers Grove and Jefferson Park are far noisier.

  5. #5
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Zman,

    The other great thing about Midway is that it has a direct "EL" connection to Downtown via the Orange line (built in the mid-1980s), which is very convenient (O'Hare also has one - the Blue Line)
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    The ends can justify the means.

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    Zman, slightly off topic, but if you want to have a look at a constrained airport with people living underneath a runway, have a look at here (from airliners.net).

    Its an overview of Quito airport in Ecuador. I wouldn't imagine much sleep goes on in those neighbourhoods

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by noj
    Zman, slightly off topic, but if you want to have a look at a constrained airport with people living underneath a runway, have a look at here (from airliners.net).

    Its an overview of Quito airport in Ecuador. I wouldn't imagine much sleep goes on in those neighbourhoods

    Noj
    I didn't know you surfed Airliners.net. Great site, second to Cyburbia in my sites that are visited the most.

    As for that topic, isn't Heathrow the same, with some people living directly under the approach patterns...?

    You do get used to it, over Thanksgiving, I was staying at my grandparents' house in east Memphis. Over morning around 1:30 FedEx sends their jets eastward to make deliveries. These jets fly low over their house. It woke me up, but they are used to it and do not notice anything..
    ...I guess it works the same way with trains in college I lived next to the rail yard and by the second week in that apartment I didn't notice the trains at all.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

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    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by noj
    Zman, slightly off topic, but if you want to have a look at a constrained airport with people living underneath a runway, have a look at here (from airliners.net).

    Its an overview of Quito airport in Ecuador. I wouldn't imagine much sleep goes on in those neighbourhoods
    Don't forget the main approach to the old airport in Hong Kong. The approach involved a hard turn in a 'canyon' formed by the tall apartment buildings of the city. It was not unusual for someone on board a 747 to look out a window and up to see locals on apartment balconies, right outside the plane, while on final approach to land there.

    Mike

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    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN

    Noj
    As for that topic, isn't Heathrow the same, with some people living directly under the approach patterns...?
    My recollection is yes it is very similar

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    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Several years ago while flying out of Raleigh/Durham, after take-off the plane took a HARD turn. We were pulling some G's. I said to the guy in the next seat, "is this guy a fighter pilot or what!" I was told, that because of noise abatement, the hard turn was SOP for that runway. Seems some big shots lived in the subdivision a couple miles out and had the power to alter the flight paths.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

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    zmanPLAN - I didn't know you surfed Airliners.net. Great site, second to Cyburbia in my sites that are visited the most.

    As for that topic, isn't Heathrow the same, with some people living directly under the approach patterns...?

    Zman, Heathrow is fairly similar, in that there is lot of people underneath for final approaches, but nothing half as dense or as close to the approach as the Quito one.

    Was put onto the airliners site by one of my colleagues who is a bit of an airplane buff. He directed me to it as I'm flying with SkyEurope in a month or so, and some of their planes have some interesting livery .

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    jimi_d's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by noj
    Zman, slightly off topic, but if you want to have a look at a constrained airport with people living underneath a runway, have a look at here (from airliners.net).

    Its an overview of Quito airport in Ecuador. I wouldn't imagine much sleep goes on in those neighbourhoods
    Yikes! That place makes LCY look tame!

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    Cyburbian cmd uw's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jordanb
    Ten years ago, Midway would have been an outstanding candidate for closure. There were, what? Four flights a day? Now with O'Hare way beyond capacity and Midway being a major airport for Southwest and the other budgets, it ain't gonna happen.

    My boss lives near Midway and refuses to fly out of O'Hare. It's "too far," so one time he took a six hour layover to avoid the direct flight from O'Hare. He can be a bit of a nut sometimes.

    Midway has sound requirements for the airplanes landing there, btw. The approaches to O'Hare over places like Downers Grove and Jefferson Park are far noisier.
    Midway will remain open no doubt about it. In fact, I recently came accross an article that talked about expanding the Greater Peoria Regional Airport to accommodate the increasing air traffic in the Chicagoland area. O'Hare is full and Midway is experiencing some heavy traffic as well.
    "First we shape our buildings, and then our buildings start shaping us." - Sir Winston Churchill

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    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    Bump... photos for all to see

    Here is a great photo I found, and I immediately thought of this thread.

    Pretty cool stuff! I will have to drive through this area next time I am in Chicago. As someone who uses Denver's airport mostly (which is in West Kansas) this still fascinates me.

    Last edited by zman; 14 Sep 2007 at 3:20 PM.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  15. #15
         
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    I flew in and out of Midway last year. It was the tightest commercial airport I have ever seen. Our shuttle bus went by the end of the runway where the Southwest plane slid through the fence and took out a car the winter before. Little room for error or bad weather conditions at this airport but it has the cheapest flights between Denver and Chicago.

  16. #16

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    That photo above is an excellent photo of Midway and its constraints. The viewer is looking east in this photo. The terminal is at the upper middle.

    To me, one of the weird Midway experiences is coming in for a landing directly above the very busy intersection of 63rd Street and Cicero Avenue, at the upper right of the picture. Planes are no more than 50 feet above the intersection as they come in -- if you happen to be stuck at a red light when a plane comes in, you can actually see the passengers looking out the windows.

    Unfortunately, in December 2005 a plane hit some ice on the runway and was unable to stop. The plane slid through the wall at 55th Street and Central Avenue (the lower left corner) and hit a car. A child in the car was killed.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian illinoisplanner's avatar
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    Yeah, my most recent flight into Midway was probably my roughest landing yet. I think the pilots didn't brake hard enough, soon enough.

    Always cool flying into the city though. The skyline views are amazing! I always get a "back at home" feeling whenever I'm flying into Chicago.

    The area around Midway is really an interesting area. The neighborhoods immediately adjacent to it are actually pretty decent. And it really is a neighborhood setting. Contrary to O'Hare which has towering office buildings, industrial parks, hotels, and convention centers surrounding it, Midway has single family homes, low rise apartments, and strip retail centers around it.

    Midway recently underwent extensive renovations and it is a really nice little airport now. It's great for cheap flights. The only thing is that it's hard to access. It takes me about an hour and a half on a good day to get there, whereas O'Hare is only like 30-45 minutes for me. But I will go to Midway simply for the cheap flights and the convenience of the airport once your actually in it.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Reminds me of Lindberg Field in San Diego where planes coming in from the east (I think) fly down a hillside over the city to land on what I always thought were very short runways. A 727 coming in for landing there several years ago overtook a landing light plane and both crashed. I think the light plane got lost in the clutter of buildings from the 727's viewpoint.

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