Thursday, May 17, 2012

Avoid Chicago, Please.

You probably don't know, or maybe you do, as I like to think my readers are a well-informed bunch, but the leaders of Nato are going to be in Chicago this weekend for their meeting. As I live in the 'burbs, this won't affect me all that much, but get a load of what the street closures are:
Street closings, including shutdowns of pedestrian and bicycle paths, start at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Lake Shore Drive will be closed from 39th Street to Balbo on Saturday until an unspecified hour during the evening rush period on Monday, officials said. No traffic will be allowed on the Stevenson Expressway from the Dan Ryan Expressway to Lake Shore Drive during the same period.

Major intermittent closures will occur on the Kennedy Expressway in both directions betweenO'Hare International Airportand downtown; Ohio and Ontario streets between the Kennedy and Fairbanks Court/Columbus Drive; and the Dan Ryan to Roosevelt Road, 18th Street and Canalport Avenue, according to the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications...
"The roadway closures will be intermittent and unannounced," Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie said. "That's all we will say."

Security officials have previously said that full traffic stoppages involving temporary roadway closures will be in effect only for President Barack Obama's motorcade, but that all other heads of state will get the "rolling closure'' treatment, meaning traffic is halted as they pass.

But on Wednesday, Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the motorcades for the Afghan and Pakistani heads of state motorcades will also receive the highest level of security, which will include full stoppages of traffic...

Unannounced street and expressway closings, CTA and Metra trains stopped for security sweeps, extra detours of CTA buses that are already detoured from their normal routes, and airport delays even on a cloud-free day in May should be anticipated, officials said...

Monday will be the busiest day by far at O'Hare, because all delegations will be leaving and Mondays are a big day for business travel. Complicating matters, the weather forecast for Monday calls for rain and possible thunderstorms, with the potential for heavy downpours, according to WGN chief meteorologist Tom Skilling.

Meanwhile, Metra will shutter five close-in stations Saturday through Monday on the Electric District line, which will operate without stopping under McCormick Place. On Monday, 25 Metra stations, including the entire Blue Island branch of the Electric line, will be closed.

Unprecedented security measures affecting all 11 Metra lines during the three days will likely throw the commuter railroad's normally good on-time performance to the wind.

Food, liquids and carry-ons such as backpacks and large purses will be prohibited on Metra trains starting Saturday, and passengers will be subject to random searches, Metra police said...

The CTA is taking what many experts view as a more practical approach to increasing security on an open mass-transit system that doesn't lend itself to airport-style passenger screening. CTA customers will see more police officers and explosives-sniffing dogs patrolling CTA rail stations, trains and buses, but the transit agency is not limiting what passengers bring on board.
And I know there are more side streets closed that aren't listed here. This doesn't really affect me all that much, as I'm not heading into the city for anything this weekend. I have other things to be doing. It would be cool to see these heads of state, even from a distance. You read their names and see their photos but it's just different to see them in person. "Hey, it''s...pst. Who's that again?"

We have been told to expect violence from protestors but, again, that's not going to directly affect me. As for my company, we are working very hard to avoid having to send anyone in the direction of the city until Wednesday of next week. It's going to take that long for things to get back to what passes as normal around here. 

The biggest thing I'm expecting to experience is the following.

I was heading home from my doctor's visit yesterday afternoon and caught site of 3 Huey helicopters going from right to left in front of me. By the time I could get the camera out of the purse, turned on and ready to use, only one was visible. I would imagine all area airports are involved in providing a place for security forces to park these things since we don't have the Glenview Naval Air Station anymore. I expect I will hear, if not see, more of these going over my house since one of those airports is directly west of me.

While this is a huge event, a very big feather in our collective caps and will showcase Chicagoland, warts and all, I'm not expecting much change in my routine. You won't see my suburb on the news and I'm grateful for that. Taste of Glen Ellyn is this weekend. I should, maybe, wander over there for something to do. It's going to be a nice weekend. Buying a can of deck stain would also be a profitable way to spend time and I wouldn't need to go into the city to get that.

So, follow the events. Enjoy the view they show of Chicago. It's a beautiful city and a fun place to live. Yes, you're welcome to visit. Give me a couple weeks notice and please, don't come by this weekend. You really won't be able to get there from here.

Beverage: English Breakfast tea


1 comment:

  1. Deb, I couldn't find an email for you and wanted to let you know you won an autographed copy of Cat Daddy at the Cat Wisdom 101 giveway. Please email me so I can ship it out to you.