An event 108 years in the making is about to take the City of Chicago by storm. The Chicago Cubs, the beloved North Side franchise that has been described as “long suffering” for decades, won the World Series this week and will be bringing the celebration back to the city today. Beginning around 10:00 a.m., a parade will kick off from Wrigley Field and will wind its way south to its terminus at Grant Park, allowing fans to grab a view of the players and the World Series trophy along the way. Chicago officials expect crowds for the parade to be massive and some have estimated that well over one million participants may be lining the roadways.
Today’s parade will be a little different from similar parades celebrating the victories of the Chicago Blackhawks. A major difference is that the entire parade route has not been released by city officials but rather three main areas have been declared as prime viewing spots for the parade and fans are being asked to watch from one of those areas. They are Addison Street from Sheffield Avenue to Pine Grove Avenue, North Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Ohio Street, and Columbus Drive from Monroe Street to Balbo Avenue.
Following the parade, the team will arrive at Grant Park with a rally that will be open to the public and that is set to begin around 12:00 p.m. The rally will be free but fans are warned that they will have to go through screening procedures at entrances located at Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard as well as Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway.
Chicago Public Schools are closed today for a scheduled closing that was set before the World Series victory which means that people of all ages are expected to participate in the day’s celebrations.
While the city deserves to enjoy today, there are some concerns about potential safety issues that may affect those in Chicago. Chief among them are the risks for pedestrian accidents and injuries to pedestrians in the downtown area and around Wrigleyville, two spots that are expected to see incredibly high congestion and potentially dangerous situations. If you plan to join the masses, keep the following safety tips in mind before you leave home:
- Plan Ahead: Many streets near and along the parade route began closing at 4:00 a.m. today and your typical route to your destination may not be available to you as a result. If you want to see the parade or the rally, plan ahead to know how you will get there and what routes make the most sense. A little forward planning can save big headaches in the long run and can ensure that you do not miss out on the festivities.
- Use Public Transportation: The City of Chicago has increased its public transit options for much of the day with the CTA and Metra announcing additional trains and buses. Street closures, unprecedented crowds, and the overall atmosphere of the celebrations are expected to make driving very challenging if not impossible today so opt for public transportation instead.
- Avoid Alcohol: While almost all Cubs fans have been waiting their entire lives for this moment, the fact that a victory celebration is finally at hand is not a reason to start drinking. City officials have warned that public consumption of alcohol will not be tolerated and those in violation of local alcohol-related laws will face fines and punishments. Beyond those basic legal consequences is the fact that alcohol makes pedestrian and car accidents far more likely and may lead you to suffer from harm if you are drinking.
- Put Safety First: Resist the urge to push your way through crowds, dash across the street, run to a good parade viewing location, or otherwise engage in activities that put your own viewing options ahead of your personal safety. It is not worth the risk to put anything ahead of your safety or the safety of those you love.
- Use Designated Crosswalks: Today, you may notice a large number of pedestrians crossing streets mid-block or at other points other than marked pedestrian crosswalks. Unless a law enforcement official is directing these actions and/or the street is completely closed to vehicular traffic, crossing the street outside of a crosswalk is very dangerous and should be avoided even if doing so seems convenient and will save you time.
The City of Chicago and the entire State of Illinois deserve to celebrate today but if you participate in the celebration, do your part to make sure everyone stays as safe as possible. Go Cubs Go!
Prior Blog Entry:
Are Metra Trains Safe for Chicago Drivers?, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published November 4, 2016.
Huge crowds expected for Cubs World Series parade, by John Byrne, Chicago Tribune, published November 4, 2016.