–by Mark Cipolloni–
Downtown 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins, a critic of the race since Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the three-year deal in July, blasted the announcement Monday.
“There’s no questions that the inconvenience will be significantly more extensive than what we were initially led to believe,” Hopkins said. “To have LSD closed during a prime summer time, when the Kennedy is under construction, it will have a cascading effect.”
In February, NASCAR said it would begin setting up the race as late as June 29.
Now it’s June 2nd.
Pre-race activity will begin Friday, June 2, with parking restrictions along Columbus Dr. between Jackson Dr. and Balbo Dr. On Saturday, June 10, Ida B. Wells Dr. will close east of Michigan Ave. starting at 12:01 a.m. to allow for construction of the main viewing areas. Temporary road closures from Saturday, June 17 to Sunday, June 25, will allow for track wall installation, with the exception of Balbo Dr., which will close at 6 a.m. on Monday, June 19, from Michigan Ave. to DuSable Lake Shore Dr.
The most significant closures will start on Sunday, June 25 at 12:01 a.m. with the closure of Columbus Dr. between Jackson Dr. and Roosevelt Rd. On Wednesday, June 28, at 10:00 p.m., southbound DuSable Lake Shore Dr. from Randolph St. to McFetridge Dr. will close. On Thursday, June 29, starting at 8:00 p.m., Roosevelt Rd. east of Columbus Dr. and northbound Michigan Ave. will close. On Friday, June 30, at 5:00 p.m. southbound Michigan Ave. between Balbo Dr. and Jackson Dr. will close.
During race weekend, northbound DuSable Lake Shore Dr. will close on Saturday, July 1, at 4:00 a.m. between McFetridge Dr. and Randolph St. as an added safety precaution. Northbound DuSable Lake Shore Dr. will begin reopening Sunday, July 2.
Hopkins said it’s fair to compare the NASCAR race with the summer music festival.
Lollapalooza “has a much less disruptive footprint” and “the city makes a greater revenue,” Hopkins said. “We’re making a pittance with the NASCAR race for an extensive amount of inconvenience.”
April 10, 2023
–by Mark Cipolloni–
If NASCAR isn’t already getting enough bad press in Chicago, residents and commuters will be spitting mad soon enough.
NASCAR’s Chicago Street race is slated to take over the city for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, but the impacts for drivers will be felt long before and after the race is done.
Officials on Monday detailed a traffic plan, featuring more than a month of rolling closures around the city in the lead-up and tear-down for the first-time event.
Closures will include major roadways like DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive, Jackson Drive, Balbo Drive and Michigan Avenue and are expected to kick off on June 2 and continue through July 15, adding to a long list of traffic disruptions for drivers in the city already battling major construction projects on the Kennedy Expressway and elsewhere.
The biggest interruptions are slated to begin on June 25.
“The city of Chicago has been working with NASCAR in the planning and execution of the race to minimize disruptions to residents and visitors while making it a safe event for everyone,” Rich Guidice, executive director of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said in a statement. “Safety is our top priority, and we will help monitor all race activity leading up to the event, through the race weekend, and following the event to help coordinate city resources and expectations.”
“This NASCAR race is going to have a major impact on the neighborhood,” said Jim Wales, vice president of the Grant Park Advisory Council. “We know parts of the park could be closed for 40 days, and that’s unacceptable when you look at the money generated, at least on paper, by NASCAR.”
Additionally, an official for Shedd Aquarium said the famed Chicago landmark could miss out on up to $3 million during the NASCAR Street Race, which takes place around the aquarium’s busiest time of the year.
Parking restrictions begin at 6 a.m. on June 2 along southbound Columbus Drive, between Jackson Drive and Balbo drive. Part of the sidewalk along Columbus Drive will also close at this time, but city officials noted that corners will remain accessible to allow visitors to still reach Buckingham Fountain.
At 6 a.m. on June 5, northbound parking will be restricted between Jackson and Balbo, with east side sidewalks being blocked.
Beginning June 10, Ida B. Wells between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive will close down, but eastbound lanes between Congress Circle and Michigan Avenue will remain open.
Starting on June 18, Jackson Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive will close. This closure is expected to begin at 7 p.m. and continue through 6 a.m. the following morning.
On June 19, Balbo will close between Michigan Avenue and DuSable Lake Shore Drive, but the intersection along Columbus will remain open.
Starting at 6 a.m. on June 20, one lane will be blocked on northbound Columbus Drive between Roosevelt and Balbo Drive. Chicago Transit Authority busses that run along this strip will also be rerouted, officials said.
Curb lane closures begin on June 21 for northbound Columbus Drive between Balbo and Jackson Drive.
Beginning at 6 a.m. on June 22, one lane of southbound Columbus Drive will be closed between Roosevelt and Balbo. The Columbus Drive underpass, however, will remain open.
Beginning at 6 a.m., a lane closure will continue on southbound Columbus Drive, this time from Balbo to Jackson.
Lane closures will begin on June 24 along Congress Circle in both directions.
June 25 – Beginning at 12:01 a.m.
Jackson Drive will close between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive and Columbus Drive will close between Jackson Drive and Roosevelt Road.
June 26 – Beginning at 6 a.m.
Congress Plaza Drive will close and lane closures begin on eastbound Roosevelt Road between Columbus Drive and DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
June 27 – Beginning at 6 a.m.
Curb lane closure begins on southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive between Balbo Drive and Roosevelt Road for track barrier installation.
June 28 – Beginning at 10 p.m.
A curb lane closure is slated to start on southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive between Balbo Drive and Roosevelt Road for track barrier installation.
June 29 – Beginning at 8 p.m.
Northbound Michigan Avenue will close between Balbo Drive and Jackson Drive and a traffic lane closure will begin on southbound Michigan Avenue between Balbo and Jackson.
Then at 10 p.m., southbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive will close between Monroe Drive and McFetridge Road and Roosevelt Road will shut down between Columbus Drive and DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
June 30 – Beginning at 5 p.m.
Southbound Michigan Avenue will close between Balbo Drive and Jackson Drive.
Race Weekend Closures
Northbound DuSable Lake Shore Drive will close between McFetridge Drive and Randolph Street.
Other race weekend closures include full shut downs of:
- SB DuSable Lake Shore Drive from Randolph Street to McFetridge Drive
- NB DuSable Lake Shore Drive from McFetridge to Randolph Street
- NB Michigan Avenue from Roosevelt Road to Jackson Drive
- SB Michigan Avenue from Jackson Drive and Balbo Drive
- Monroe Avenue from Columbus Drive to DuSable Lake Shore Drive
- Columbus Drive from Roosevelt Rad to Monroe Drive
- Roosevelt Road from DuSable Lake Shore Drive to Columbus Drive
- Jackson Drive from Michigan Avenue to DuSable Lake Shore Drive
- Balbo Drive from Michigan Avenue to DuSable Lake Shore Drive
- Ida B. Wells from Michigan Avenue to Columbus Drive
- Congress Circle
After Race Closures
July 2 – beginning at end of event
Officials said the priority will be centered on opening up DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Columbus Drive and Michigan Avenue “as soon as possible.”
Northbound Lake Shore Drive is scheduled to reopen between McFetridge and Monroe and southbound Michigan Avenue will reopen between Roosevelt and Monroe sometime before 7 a.m. on July 3, officials said.
At least one lane of traffic is expected to reopen on southbound Lake Shore Drive by midnight on July 3. Northbound Michigan Avenue and eastbound Roosevelt Road will also see one lane reopen, while all of westbound Roosevelt Road is expected to reopen.
Beginning at midnight and continuing through 4 p.m., officials are expected to continue to remove track wall from the event on southbound Lake Shore Drive, fully reopening the road after 4 p.m., officials said.
Then, beginning at 4 p.m. and continuing through the morning hours of July 5, the remaining walls on northbound Michigan Avenue will be removed, “allowing for three lanes” to reopen.
Between July 5 and July 6 Congress Circle is expected to fully reopen.
Columbus Drive between Roosevelt and Balbo is expected to remain closed in both directions. Balbo Drive will also remain closed to traffic between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.
Jackson Drive will remain closed between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive in both directions. Closures will also continue on Columbus Drive.
- Columbus Drive reopens in both directions between Roosevelt Road and Jackson Boulevard, but one lane remains closed between Balbo Drive and Jackson Boulevard in both directions.
- Ida B. Wells between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive fully reopens.
- Jackson Boulevard and Columbus Drive intersection reopens.
Northbound Columbus Drive reopens fully between Balbo Drive and Jackson Boulevard.
Balbo Drive reopens between Columbus Drive and DuSable Lake Shore Drive.
All streets, parking and sidewalks are reopened.
For those needing to travel north or south, officials recommend:
• State St.
• Dearborn St. (NB)
• LaSalle St. (NB and SB)
• Wells St. (SB)
• Franklin St. (NB)
• Upper Wacker Dr. (NB and SB)
For west or east:
• Upper Wacker. (EB and WB)
• Randolph St. (WB)
• Washington. (EB)
• Madison Ave. (WB)
• Roosevelt Rd. (EB and WB)
• 18th St. (EB and WB)
• 22nd St / Cermak (EB and WB)