Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett's 1909 Plan of Chicago envisioned a park boulevard along Chicago's lake shore that would bypass the city center and provide a relaxing scenic drive for residents to enjoy views of a great city and lakefront park. The evolution of North Lake Shore Drive has been forever intertwined with that of Lincoln Park. Whether you visit it once or every day, Lincoln Park is indelibly marked on your soul as a special place to be thoroughly enjoyed and even cherished. Lincoln Park is one of the crown jewels of Chicago’s extensive park system.
Burnham and Bennett's vision of a park boulevard, however, has been overwhelmed by the travel demands of a mobile society. Though North Lake Shore Drive is not an expressway, its travel demand would rank it amongst the most heavily traveled expressway segments in the region. Portions of North Lake Shore Drive carry as many as 155,000 vehicles per day. In addition, each day about 69,000 transit riders travel on the bus routes on Inner and Outer Lake Shore Drive(already inserted) Much of the North Lake Shore Drive infrastructure was constructed in the 1930s under the Works Progress Administration and has deteriorated to the point that complete reconstruction is needed. The Lakefront Trail alone serves approximately 25,000 users a day during nice weather including walkers, cyclists, joggers and others. Demands for access to the park and the intensity of use within it, caused by local and regional needs, have overburdened the original designs of many park facilities.
Increased utilization of both Lincoln Park and the Drive has strained the roadway. The current study to improve the infrastructure of North Lake Shore Drive offers the opportunity to consider new solutions to meet today’s needs.
The Illinois Department of Transportation and the Chicago Department of Transportation want to work with you to Redefine the Drive!