City braces for busy traffic weekend

June 10, 2010 (CHICAGO)

The signs of the upcoming Blackhawks celebration are already visible. Metal barricades went up along Wacker and Michigan. With more than a third of a million people expected to attend the parade and rally, the city chose this spot with good reason.

"Five years ago we did the very same thing when the Chicago White Sox won the World Title and that event, although it had some disruptions in downtown streets, it went very smoothly," said Brian Steele, Chicago Department of Transportation.

That was October. This is June, the heart of the festival season, and there's a lot more going. Closures are already in place in Grant Park for the Chicago Blues Fest. The Wells Street Art Festival will close Wells between Division and North Avenue, and nearby, the Old Town Art Fair will close streets around Lincoln and Wisconsin Street. The Printer's Row Lit Fest will detour traffic around Dearborn and Polk and, to top it all off, the Crosstown Classic is sure to logjam traffic around Wrigley Field Friday through Sunday.

"Fortunately there are great options available; public transportation serves the area with many bus and train routes, there are remote parking lots you can take to Wrigley Field," said Steele.

Illinois Department of Transportation's big concern is balancing the sheer volume of traffic heading into the city for the Crosstown at Wrigley at the same time 'hawks fans will be heading out.

IDOT is prepared to delay switching the Kennedy Expressway's reversible lanes on Friday if inbound traffic becomes too congested. They will also suspend any temporary construction closures on the Kennedy between Montrose and 31st St. on the Ryan from Friday morning until 9:00 pm. Even with CTA bus detours around the parade and rally, it's still a better option than sitting in traffic.

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