Traffic jams, detours and public transit delays are three sure results of the NATO summit this coming weekend, when more than 60 heads of state from around the world will descend upon Chicago.
Workers downtown are being told to swap their suits for jeans and t-shirts in order to blend in with protesters, while police and hospital staff are on alert for mass mobilization in case things get out of hand.
In Evanston, police aren’t expecting major protesting, if any at all, but they’vre prepared for worst-case scenarios.
“We have an increase in manpower in case of civil disorders,” Cmdr. Jason Parrott told Patch, adding that the police force has been trained in crowd control techniques.
Along with all government buildings, police will be paying special attention to the CTA and the Metra, Parrott said.
Evanston has a small Occupy Evanston movement, a spinoff of the Occupy Wall Street protests last fall. According to the group’s website, no protests will be planned during the NATO summit, so that activists may go downtown to join the large demonstrations there.
“We don’t expect there to be any issues,” said Parrott. “Peaceful gatherings are always not an issue.”
The NATO Summit has already derailed at least one major plan in Evanston: After 13 years of holding prom on a cruise leaving from Navy Pier, administrators at decided to move the event this year. Due to concerns about safety, it will now be held at The Westin Chicago in Wheeling. Meanwhile, will close The Kellogg School of Management’s Wieboldt Hall facilities from Friday May 18, through Monday, May 21.
At Evanston, doctors are preparing for some very challenging situations. Along with other suburban hospitals, NorthShore University HealthSystem in Evanston recently simulated a response to a radioactive “dirty bomb” explosion, in conjunction with the U.S. Navy’s Great Lakes Training Center.
“"If something does happen, God forbid, we'll be ready to do something about it," Dr. Michael George told My Fox Chicago.
HERE'S HOW THE NATO SUMMIT MAY AFFECT YOU:
If you’re a CTA rider
- Reroutes could happen any time. Check the CTA website before you head out the door.
- As of Tuesday, several bus lines were rerouted in the city, but the Red Line and Purple Line were scheduled to operate as usual.
- Due to rerouting, the CTA is advising riders to consider choosing the ‘L,’ and expects to add more service at certain times.
If you’re a Metra rider
- All but the Blue Island line will be operating as usual.
- Riders may carry only one bag no bigger than 15 by 4 inches, and boxes, parcels, luggage, backpacks and bicycles will be prohibited. Liquids must be carried in containers smaller than 3 ounces, including coffee and other drinks.
- Consider following the Twitter account for your Metra line or signing up for a My Metra account to receive up to date alerts.
If you’re a driver
- Lake Shore Drive will be closed between Balbo and 39th Street, including access to and from I-55.
- Parts of Columbus Drive, Roosevelt Road, Indian Avenue, 31st Street, Martin Luther King Drive and Cermak will be closed. Find a full list of traffic detours at the Chicago NATO summit site.
- I-90 will be shut down in both directions between O’Hare and the city while motorcades travel back and forth, along with other streets downtown.