An ordinance requires that riverwalks be included in new construction along the Chicago River, so eventually the riverfront may rival the Lakefront Trail. Until that day comes, it takes some detective work to navigate the waterway by bike. Here's a new route I discovered from the Loop to Bridgeport, but I should warn you that it's not 100% legal: http://gridchicago.com/2012/a-stealth-route-along-the-south-branch-...
I've often wondered how the south riverfront might look now if Tony Rezko's dreams hadn't imploded. That high density development would have changed a lot of things - some for the better and some worse - but I liked the potential of the riverwalk piece of the proposal.
It's really strange that there's all that great land in the South Loop that's just lying fallow. If it doesn't make sense to develop it, they really should turn it into a public park.
The problem with turning it into a park is that it is then unavailable for future development or transportation uses (Wells-Wentworth Connector). They really need a comprehensive long term plan before they can officially turn it into a park.
Great article though. I've always wondered what it looked like from the ground down there.