The legacy of The Pennsylvania Railroad's cash-flow problems includes crude redevelopments of New York's Pennsylvania Station and Chicago's Union Station, both of which give the impression of a place to be gotten through as quickly as practicable so as to get home and open up a cold one (particularly now that there are no bar cars on any of the commuter trains.)

In Chicago, Fix Union Station hopes to apply a corrective.  Among the intriguing ideas: an improved entrance along Clinton Street.  There is a way in, next to the south taxi driveway, that goes through a depressing corridor of vacant storefronts.  Once upon a time, the railroad watch inspector did business there.  There is also a logical way to provide such an entrance.  On the Clinton Street side of the Great Hall is a vacant space that used to be a Fred Harvey eatery, until the place caught fire.  I recall that eatery as having a high ceiling, just the kind of space to adapt to a new grand entrance.  But with all those support columns for the old Mercantile Exchange trading floor running through the concourse building, there's little hope of improving that space.

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