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Some highlights include:
- Office occupancy and pedestrian activity are holding steady compared to September 2020 numbers.
- Parking volumes decreased compared to September 2020, as more survey respondents said they’re taking public transportation to work rather than driving personal cars.
- 28 percent of respondents are open with all staff working onsite (up from only 8 percent in September 2020); 49 percent with some staff onsite and some remote; 11 percent with all staff remote; and 6 percent temporarily closed. 6 percent indicated “other.”
- Driving personal cars is the most popular way respondents get to the Loop, but those who indicated CTA buses, CTA trains, or Metra are what they take to work increased compared to September 2020.
- Visiting a Loop doctor or dentist, shopping and dining are the most popular Loop activities respondents will participate in.
- 28 percent of respondents said they’d visit the Loop during a weekend in October. 34 percent said they would not, and 38 percent said they were unsure.
“What is most encouraging to me for October is the increase in respondents who said they primarily used public transportation to get to the Loop,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “We hosted a virtual event in October called Downtown Futures Series: The Journey Back to Work, where Dr. Robert Murphy, an infectious disease expert from Northwestern, said public transportation has not been a major spreader of COVID-19 and with mask compliance and social distancing is a safe way to get to work. Staggered start times could help to get people back to work on public transit, while avoiding crowding.”
Chicago Loop Alliance also tracks pedestrian activity using counters by the U.K.-based company Springboard. Eighteen counters are located on the east and west sides of State Street from Wacker to Ida B. Wells drives. Additional counters are at Michigan and Wacker, Michigan and Washington, and in the Pedway.
The most recent weekly pedestrian activity report is for week ending Nov. 1. Activity was down by 7 percent on State Street compared to the week prior, and was down by 69 percent compared to the same time period in 2019.
Last month, Chicago Loop Alliance released an online “Back to Work” toolkit to help people make a smooth and safe return to the office. The toolkit can be found at LoopChicago.com/BackToWork and includes stories from workers who have already taken the plunge in returning to work downtown; comprehensive information on how to safely get to the Loop; a guide to what’s open in the Loop; cool-weather cycling tips; an overview of what’s new in the Loop since March; a glimpse at what the Loop looks like these days; suggested lunch spots; a happy hour guide; and Chicago Loop Alliance’s monthly business operations reports.
On Dec. 3, Chicago Loop Alliance will host Re-ACTIVATE, a free virtual fundraiser to support the Chicago Loop Alliance Foundation and the recovery of the Loop neighborhood. Re-ACTIVATE is free to attend and open to the public and will feature live painting, compelling conversation, and special guests Toni Griffin (Just City Lab, Harvard University), Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Keith Smith (a.k.a. Chicago street artist Afrokilla), Michael Edwards (Chicago Loop Alliance), David Broz (Gensler, Chicago Loop Alliance Board of Directors), and the evening’s emcee, Val Warner (ABC 7 Chicago’s Windy City Live). Registration is open now at LoopChicago.com/ReACTIVATE.
Chicago Loop Alliance invites people to share their experiences downtown on social media using #BackInTheLoop.
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