Many potential changes lie around the curve for Lake Shore Drive
Lake Shore Drive is just as much of a Chicago staple as deep dish pizza. The stretch of road that traces Lake Michigan is a main route for Chicagoans and tourist. The famous Lake Shore Drive dates back to the late 1920s. Its original purpose was for leisurely strolls and carriage rides, but the auto revolution caused Lake Shore Drive to undergo a drastic shift.
Over the decades, it has been transformed and expanded. Unfortunately, the northern portion of Lake Shore Drive is continuously becoming more congested. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the City of Chicago are planning multiple projects to revamp Lake Shore Drive.
One of the biggest proposed changes is straightening the curve. Most Chicago drivers know the infamous S-curve near Oak street. A beautiful drive with a view turns into a tense bumper-to-bumper experience when approaching the curve. The preliminary plans are to add additional infills and extend the shoreline. This would decrease the curvature and allow the speed limit to not have to drop to the current 25mph limit. The redesign will also allow for additional park space, which can serve as buffer for high waves from Lake Michigan.
IDOT and city planners are not just working on easing the S-curve. There are tossing around a lot of idea that would truly change Lake Shore Drive. Those ideas include a possible underground light-rail line, an interchange at Addison, carpool lanes, an overpass to channel the Chicago Avenue traffic underground, and much more.
The end goal is to preserve the legacy of Lake Shore Drive but increase efficiency. Although the plans are not expected to be finalized until 2020, for sure in the next decade Lake Shore will look a lot different.