Road closures, parking restrictions announced ahead of Mag Mile Lights Festival

SHARE Road closures, parking restrictions announced ahead of Mag Mile Lights Festival
SHARE Road closures, parking restrictions announced ahead of Mag Mile Lights Festival

As visitors prepare for Saturday’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on Saturday, city officials caution residents and spectators to prepare for a busy day of downtown traffic and parking restrictions.

“Hundreds of thousands” of spectators are expected downtown for the annual holiday lighting ceremony along Michigan Avenue, according to a statement from the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

The lighting procession, led by grand marshals Mickey and Minnie Mouse, steps off at 5:30 p.m. heading east on Oak from Rush to Michigan, south to Wacker and east on Wacker to Columbus, officials said. Fireworks are scheduled to conclude the ceremony at 6:55 p.m. over the Chicago River at Michigan.

The main route of the parade will be closed to traffic from 3:30 to 8 p.m., with Michigan Avenue shut down from Oak to Wacker; Oak from State to Michigan; and Upper Wacker from Michigan to the east turnaround, officials said. Additionally, Upper Columbus Drive will be closed between Wacker and Randolph from 4:30 to 11 p.m.

Spectators won’t be allowed to watch fireworks from any of the Downtown bridges, and the Michigan Avenue Bridge will be closed to pedestrians as early as 3:45 p.m., officials said.

Other closures starting about 8 a.m. include Oak from Clark to State, Dearborn from Delaware to Maple, and Walton from State to Clark. Those streets are slated to reopen at 6 p.m.

Officials urge visitors to use public transportation. Metra will provide extra trains and increased capacity on the BNSF, UP Northwest, UP West, Milwaukee North, Milwaukee West and Rock Island lines, according to the transit agency.

The OEMC also cautioned people to be aware of pick-pockets in large crowds, and to dress for the weather. National Weather Service forecasters are calling for a high of 47 and a low of 45 on Saturday, with steady rain that is predicted to taper off in time for the parade, with a dry spell between 4 and 7 p.m.

The Latest
One of the wounded, a 32-year-old man, was driving down the street when he was struck by gunfire, police said.
The 34-year-old was crossing the street just before 8:30 p.m. in the 2900 block of West Columbus Avenue when she was struck by a black SUV.
“That’s where you build fandom, grow revenue, and that’s where all the players will benefit versus adding a roster spot here and there.”
Reflecting on one of the most iconic photos of his presidency, former President Obama said, “I think this picture embodied one of the hopes that I had when I first started running for office.”