Shiny New Lakeshore Drive Ideas

Tonight’s North Lakeshore Drive open house at Truman College was an energetic kickoff to what could be a park-heavy multi-modal redesign of the iconic roadway.

The official material presented the history of Lakeshore Drive as a mixed-use corridor whose identity was intertwined with that of Lincoln Park. The framework was clever: by suggesting that any “green” changes we make to Lakeshore Drive would bring us back to the original design of the drive as a park-like boulevard, it mitigates complaints that these visions are newfangled and therefore scary and unacceptable. To the contrary! The idea of Lakeshore Drive being a permeable extension of our beach and park space is in fact kind of an old idea.

The Project
Lakeshore Drive will be redesigned from Grand Avenue to Hollywood. We are in Phase I right now, which covers design and environmental studies. There will be public meetings throughout the process to gather community input.
By the numbers:

  • 70,000-150,000 vehicles per day;
  • 1,100 crashes per year;
  • 69,000 bus riders/day using Inner and Outer Drive Express buses; and
  • 25,300 people use the Lakefront Trail each day.

These numbers do a good job of using data to make the point that transit users, bicyclists and pedestrians should be considered in any redesign.

Here are a few fun pictures from the open house, and at the bottom, a way for you to get involved.


Alderman James Cappleman signs in at the meeting


Residents view the existing conditions report (made on an incredibly beautiful printer!)


A super cool resident points to some existing issues


State Representative Greg Harris holds court with CDOT officials and friends


Color coding system




Marking up existing maps


The sun-dappled Task Force sign.

More about that

Throughout the entire process, IDOT, CDOT, CTA, and Chicago Park District will consult local task forces. There are 3 regional groups to represent the areas between Grand Avenue and Hollywood.  Uptown readers may be most interested in the task force representing Montrose-Hollywood. There are a maximum of 25 residents allowed to be on each task force, and each member must commit to attending the 5 public meetings scheduled until 2016. Representatives at the meeting said they’d be looking for the task forces to represent a range of perspectives.

Want to apply to join a Task Force? You should join the task force! Use the North Lakeshore Drive’s Task Force Interest Form.

About bikeuptown46

I am currently the Communications Director for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters which represents 33,000 union men and women in three states who swing a hammer for a living. I publsih a magazine, a couple of email newsletters and two websites. I also do videos, webinars, advertisng and public relations. As an avid cyclist I ride a three-wheeled trike 5 to 6 days per week 52 weeks per year which adds up to between 5,000 and 6,000 miles year-round, including daily commutes along Chicago's lakefront ... polar vortexes included. I have never missed a day of work because of Chicago's weather. I am an activist who serves humanitarian and political causes: To advocate for the Sudanese in Illinois who have fled Southern Sudan and Darfur is one of my most rewarding experiences. I work with my son Sean on Sudan presentations at churches and community groups with my Sudanese friends on the problems facing them in Darfur, South Sudan and the United States. My son Sean and I work together on the Abolition Institute which seeks to end slavery in the west African nation of Mauritania. My photography chronicles Chicago's lakefront through my daily rides. My photo website is I just self-published my first photo-book on the history of my Chicago neighborhood: Sweet Home Buena Park. I live about one-half mile north of Wrigley Field in the Buena Park neighborhood.

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