To the editors:
While on a recent visit to my home town Chicago, catching up on local architectural gossip, I saw the proposals for the new Chicago Public Library ["One for the Books," June 10].
Despite the elegant renderings and presentations, one point seems inescapable: None of the architects has addressed the simple problem of street life in the South Loop!
Imagine walking down State Street, from Jackson to Congress Street, on a January evening, about 10:00 P.M., coming home from a movie or restaurant, The "Hawk" howling, muggers lurking, and not one solitary bar, restaurant, cafe or other people place to break the night!
It is hard to believe, at this point in history, that we have not learned the great lesson of urban living. The Streets need people and activities at all hours!
The residential population of the South Loop is increasing every day. We need the vitality, and security, of nighttime enterprises.
It's not too late to require some changes. Let's take this opportunity to provide a two block long, sheltered, pedestrian walkway, right up tight against the sidewalk. Perhaps an all-night adjunct to the library for night owls, insomniacs, or students, and a 24-hour cafe for cabbies, cops and other late-night/early morning workers.
While I am currently working on a project in Paris, I hope someday to return to my home in the South Loop. How happy I would be to find a Chicago which has finally awakened to a sense of city life which is already well-appreciated in Paris and other great cities of the world.