Spanning the length of Chicago’s lakefront, Lake Shore Drive showcases the skyline like no other street in any other city. With gorgeous views coming from both the north and the south, Lake Shore Drive is one of Chicago’s premiere landmarks.
The original plan for “the Drive” was created over 100 years ago by architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham. His grand vision was to create a public lakefront with a drive. Originally intended for leisurely strolls and carriage rides, as automobiles began to take the road as the main mode of transportation, the drive had to keep up and soon expanded, taking a completely different role from its original plans, and became the road that we know today. Lake Shore Drive cuts through miles of parks between the streets of Chicago and the beaches, providing a quick ride from as far north as Hollywood Avenue to 6600 South at Marquette Drive.
Recently, there have been new proposals for changes to the lakefront from Olive Park to North Avenue Beach, including the addition of a new offshore island, straightening the S-curve, and burying part of Lake Shore Drive underground. This plan is unique because it was commissioned by a collective of Streeterville residents, rather than only by a development team. The goal of this project is to improve the neighborhood and overall quality of the lakefront in this area. Of the 29 miles of lakefront, all but 4 miles are public parkland, and this plan would increase the beach front area, as well as park space, by putting part of the drive below ground, allowing for green space above it. Straightening the S-curve would also decrease congestion in that area, providing traffic a smoother and more safe drive in that area.
It is important to look at this plan as a way to improve the community, along with increasing green space, which Streeterville (the neighborhood where this area is located) is severely lacking. Tentative plans estimate that if renovations began soon, the entire project should be completed within the next four to five years.
Visit DNAinfo for more information on this project and how it will positively impact the Streeterville neighborhood and Lake Shore Drive.