Tag Archives: Chicago traffic

An Inside Look At The Kennedy Expressway’s Reversible Lanes

Traffic jamWho knew the Kennedy Expressway’s reversible lanes were such an interesting topic?

The Chicago Tribune published an excellent piece on the reversible lanes recently that gives readers amazing insight into how they work.

These additional two lanes are switched twice a day. The lanes are inbound for the morning rush and then flipped for the  outbound rush hour in the middle of the day during the week. On Friday nights an additional set of reversals are made to accommodate drivers headed into the city for dinner or a night on the town.

Why Does Traffic On The Kennedy Expressway Get Backed Up?

Why does traffic on the Kennedy Expressway backup at the Eden’s junction?

That’s the question asked and answered by WBEZ 91.5 FM resident historian John R. Schmidt.

Isn’t it simply too many vehicles traveling on too few miles of roadway? According to Schmidt, it has to do with how the expressway was originally constructed back in the 1950′s.

Schmidt says back then, all the city’s expressways were designed with the idea of allowing traffic to flow in and out of the city. Traffic engineers didn’t take into consideration the idea of local drivers using the expressways for local, crosstown driving–thus underestimating traffic volumes.

Summer Promises Heavier Traffic Due To Construction Chaos

What’s that old Chicago joke?

There are two seasons in Chicago. Winter and construction.

Unfortunately, the summer of 2013 promises to live up to that joke.

According to an extensive report in the Chicago Sun-Times, drivers will be feeling the pain of being caught in construction related traffic all over the greater Chicagoland area this summer.

Here’s a rundown of all the area’s major construction projects and how it will affect you getting to where you want to go: “Road construction may put a bump in summer travel.”

Traffic To O’Hare So Bad, Some Leave Car, Walk To Airport

Traffic on the I-190 extension to O’Hare Airport Sunday morning, some people got out and started walking to the airport according to CBS Chicago.

Congestion due to road construction was so bad between approximately 6-7 AM that 70 people began walking along the shoulder of the expressway to make sure they made their flights.

Chicago Police and Illinois State Police were called out and assisted the expressway pedestrians reach O’Hare safely.

Here’s the full report from Newsradio 780 AM, “Frustrated By Traffic, People Leave Cars And Walk On Expressway To O’Hare.”

Chicago’s Traffic Improving, Study Shows

According to a new report, Chicago drivers are experienced less traffic congestion last year.

Chicago drivers may find it hard to believe, but a new study says Chicago’s traffic congestion significantly improved in 2012.

INRIX, an international provider of traffic data, released its Traffic Scoreboard Annual Report on Wednesday, which shows congestion on the city’s many roadways has dropped by 23 percent in 2012.

According to the report, Chicago drivers spent 30 hours stuck in traffic last year, compared to 37 hours in 2011 — a seven hour difference.

This decline has dropped Chicago from its list of top “10 Worst Cities for Traffic in America.” The city was 8th in 2010, 10th in 2011 and now slides into to the 12th-worst traffic city.

Unfortunately, the reason for the improvement is not good news.

According to Jim Bak, INRIX’s Director of Community Relations, Chicago drivers can credit the city’s generally weak economy and high unemployment rate for the traffic improvement.

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

Torrential Rains, Flooding, Make Driving A Challenge

Three cars get swallowed up by a sinkhole on Chicago's South Side. Photo credit Nancy Loo, courtesy of @NBC News Twitter feed.

Hour after hour the rain continued to pour.

Nearly 6″ of rain fell in just 30 hours according to the National Weather Service, flooding low lying areas and making some roadways impassable.

So by Thursday morning’s rush hour, Chicago area drivers faced some very challenging driving and traffic.

Expressways all over the Chicago metro area had to be closed intermittently due to flooding, including the Edens Expressway (I-94) which, according to reports, had up to five feet of water at the peak of the rainfall.

Underpasses, viaducts and other lower lying roadways on city streets delayed many commuters and in some cases caused vehicles to stall in places where the water was extremely deep.

City Debuts Congress Parkway Streetscape Lighting

A pedestrian is bathed in purple light as they walk through the tunnel below the Chicago Stock Exchange along Congress Parkway.

As a light mist fell Thursday evening outside the Harold Washington Library, two young girls helped Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein flip the switch to light the Congress Parkway Streetscape for the very first time.

Emanuel plucked 7-year-olds Kalaya Sriver and Seda Curvey from the crowd to help make the metal trellises and glass pillars stretching down Congress begin to glow brightly in an array of purples, blues, reds and greens.

About 200 people assembled for the ceremony, which officially marked the completion of the two-year, $24 million roadway improvement project.

The lighted streetscape stretches a half mile from Michigan Avenue to Wells Street and helps show off the widened sidewalks, landscaped medians and a narrowed, better engineered and safer roadway. A full lane of westbound Congress was eliminated and the street was streamlined to rid Congress of its weaving traffic lanes.

“When I was passing President Obama’s stimulus bill, I didn’t know it would end in a light show,” Emanuel joked about the $9 million in federal stimulus dollars that helped fund the project. “Congress Parkway now provides a beautiful and innovative gateway into the heart of downtown Chicago.”

Read more at DNA Info Chicago.

IDOT Plans Overnight Lane Closures On Dan Ryan Expressway

In preparation of the reconstruction of the Metra Bridge over the Dan Ryan Expressway (I-90/94), the Illinois Department of Transportation will have overnight lane closures from midnight to 6 AM Monday and Tuesday night and next week.

These closures will include the full closures of the express lanes between midnight and 5 a.m. inbound and midnight and 6 a.m. outbound between 43rd and 67th Streets.

Those same lane closures will take place again next week starting Monday night, April 1st for four nights until early Friday morning, April 5th.

Video: Fixing Traffic Gridlock In Chicago

The Reason Foundation, a think tank which promotes free market solutions to society’s problems, produced a video of a presentation on a study on how to solve Chicago’s traffic congestion issues.

The study, based on market-based solutions, actually came out last year, but Reason only posted the video in the last few months.

The study suggests a combination of user fees, electronic tolling and new financing methods to reduce congestion and the number of hours drivers spent stuck in traffic. The two researchers say congestion costs the local economy billions of dollars every year.

If you have a half hour to kill, it’s certainly an interesting and enlightening look at Chicago’s traffic situation.

Critics Question IDOT Plan To Improve Circle Interchange

The Illinois Department of Transportation has plans to improve Chicago’s notoriously congested Circle Interchange.

The state agency plans to spend over $400 million to improve the traffic flow and decrease the congestion where the Dan Ryan (I-90), Kennedy ( I-94) and Eisenhower (I-290) slam into each at the foot of Congress Parkway.

But according to Streetsblog Chicago,  there are a handful of organizations and transportation planners are at best skeptical and at worst highly critical of all of IDOT’s proposed plans.