Downtown a ghost town for traffic, despite NATO
BY TINA SFONDELES Transportation reporter firstname.lastname@example.org May 19, 2012 3:26PM
No traffic on Lake Shore Drive, facing south of Grand. | Lauran Berta~Sun-Times
Updated: May 19, 2012 6:56PM
In what appears to be the longest NATO Summit street closure, Lake Shore Drive will be closed from Navy Pier to 39th Street for seven hours on Sunday as part of extra security for dignitaries.
North and southbound Lake Shore Drive will be closed from Grand Avenue to McCormick Place from 4 to 11 p.m. That’s in addition to the closure from Balbo to 39th.
Streets bordering Wrigley Field will also be off limits for drivers Saturday night during the Cubs-Sox game. That’s because NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is throwing out the first pitch, officials said.
In addition, authorities announced that Columbus Drive is closed between Illinois Street and Wacker Drive until further notice.
Meanwhile on Saturday, it was yet another ghost town in Chicago, especially for drivers.
Although not as desolate as Friday, it’s clear drivers are avoiding downtown.
A ride from Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road, all the way to the Mag Mile’s entrance to North Lake Shore Drive Saturday afternoon took 10 minutes. And Lake Shore Drive’s lanes were completely clear — no Saturday bumper to bumper traffic — even though the beaches and lakefront path were full.
Heading back south at Balbo, giant, blue Department of Streets and Sanitation trucks blocked Lake Shore Drive. Those trucks were lined up all the way to Michigan Avenue, with police officers guarding the fleet.
And the Michigan Avenue reroute all the way to 39th was a breeze as well. The ramp to Lake Shore Drive near 26th Street heading south was blocked by big barriers. If you didn’t know better, you’d think the ramp didn’t exist. But a peek down and you’ll see something you’ll probably never see: an empty Lake Shore Drive.
The only cars on the street below were U.S. Secret Service patrols and Chicago Police squads.
Other key closures include the access to I-55 southbound and access to Lake Shore Drive via I-55 northbound.