Parking and traffic a concern near Wintrust Arena
November 2, 2017

Big crowds anticipated for DePaul Blue Demons games and other events have raised parking and traffic concerns in the Near South area.

As Wintrust Arena is poised for a full slate of activities at 200 E. Cermak Rd., so are neighboring residents who generally see the development as a plus with a cautionary tale: increased traffic and parking issues.

“We have been very much involved in the traffic and parking plans,” said Tina Feldstein, president of the Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance. “Some of the changes that have been proposed are very welcome, but some traffic flow will need to be policed. We are just trying to make sure the neighborhood is not being used as a pass through. We want to know when trucks will be unloading at the arena and where are Ubers and cabs going to go.”

Officials expected to present a final plan, based on previous input, on Nov. 2 at the arena, according to the office of 3rd Ward Ald. Pat Dowell. Her office staffer said she did not want to reveal details until after she met with neighbors.

Among the first scheduled events were an Oct. 27 concert and home games for the DePaul University Blue Demons men’s basketball team on Nov. 5, 11, and 13.

Chicago Department of Transportation Officials in August presented a plan that included left turn arrows on Cermak Road at Indiana, Prairie, Michigan, and Wabash Avenues. They also proposed countdown signals for pedestrian crossings along that same stretch of Cermak as well as at Michigan Avenue at Cullerton Street, 24th Street at State Street, and at King Drive where it crosses 24th Place and 25th Street.

In addition, potential street direction changes included 21st Street one-way westbound between Calumet Avenue and Indiana and Cullerton Streets and one-way eastbound between Calumet and Indiana Avenues.

Potential street closures included Calumet Avenue between Cermak Road and 21st Street with back-
to-back cul-de-sacs and blocking northbound Prairie traffic at 21st during major events.

Officials also proposed a number of curbside changes, including no parking around the arena to accommodate a fire lane, cab stands on Cermak and Prairie to serve the Marriott, and moving the bus stop to the northwest corner of the same intersection.

Feldstein is confident City officials are hearing neighborhood concerns.

“The alderman’s office has been willing to talk,” she said. “We will see what works and doesn’t work, and hopefully some things will be tweaked if needed. We have to make sure it all makes sense. The time is now.” 

To contact Dowell, call (773) 373-9273. For more about the PDNA, log on to www.pdnachicago.com.

—Rick Romano