Street closures part of weekend safety plans for downtown Chicago

CHICAGO — Chicago police announced safety plans Friday in an effort to prevent a repeat of Thursday night’s chaotic scenes downtown. 

The Office of Emergency Management and Communication is coordinating a series of closures to keep traffic under control downtown. 

Rolling closures are expected on DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Roosevelt Road, Michigan Avenue, Ida B. Wells Drive and Columbus Drive.

Residents who live or work in the area as well as critical care workers will be allowed access. Officials said those people will be required to show a driver’s license or work ID.

Thursday, thousands of people, many in car-caravans, flooded the Loop, crippling traffic and lighting off fireworks. Flag-waving car caravans clogged Chicago’s streets, bringing the Loop to a virtual standstill, from DuSable Lake Shore drive to the Expressway.  

Because of the pandemic, the Mexican Independence Day parade has now been cancelled for two straight years and that meant people made their own parades.

Friday night, the scene seemed much calmer. The Chicago police issued a message for anyone who would repeat Thursday’s events. 

 “Any celebration that blocks traffic, involves disruptive or criminal behavior will not be tolerated,” First Deputy Superintendent Eric Carter said. “That is not the way to celebrate. Those who break the law will face consequences.”

Part of this weekend’s plan is to have the Illinois State Police on standby to assist with traffic enforcement in and around downtown and on expressway ramps  

Police said they’re not discouraging peaceful celebrations but they will crack down on violations of the law.  

 “We’re not discouraging celebration. We’re encouraging a peaceful celebration,” Carter said. “Unfortunately things have evolved into a more chaotic situation than what it would typically be.”

Chicago police did not say how many people were arrested during the celebrations Thursday.  

Chicago News