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Downtown, Loop road closures expected in response to past week of Mexican Independence Day celebrations

Road closures were set to happen on DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Roosevelt Road, Michigan Avenue, Ida B. Wells Drive and Columbus Drive beginning Friday night and through the weekend, a spokeswoman for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications said.

A man walks between vehicles with a Mexican flag on Ida B. Wells Dr. as hundreds of people celebrate in downtown Chicago for Mexican Independence Day last year.
A man walks between vehicles with a Mexican flag on Ida B. Wells Dr. as hundreds of people celebrate in downtown Chicago for Mexican Independence Day last year.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

The city announced it would have “rolling closures” in downtown and the Loop beginning Friday night and only allow access to residents and “critical care workers” if they produce a driver’s license or work identification to a Chicago police officer at the location of a closure.

This comes as thousands of residents took to the streets in recent days to commemorate Mexican Independence Day. The celebrations culminated Thursday night with traffic jams on DuSable Lake Shore Drive and elsewhere in the central business district.

The announced closures on Friday came a day after the holiday.

Road closures were set to happen on DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Roosevelt Road, Michigan Avenue, Ida B. Wells Drive and Columbus Drive starting Friday night and going through the weekend, a spokeswoman for the Office of Emergency Management and Communications said.

Chicago Police Department’s First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter said the city’s plan to control the festivities was “solid,” but tweaks need to be made.

“Overall, we ensured everyone’s safety as much as possible,” Carter said during a Friday night news conference.

Carter said the street enclosures are needed because of the number of people who flooded the streets the last two days. He said they aren’t discouraging people from celebrating the holiday peacefully, calling Thursday’s festivities chaotic.

The decision to close certain streets came as Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) issued a sternly written letter to Chicago Police Supt. David Brown complaining about the celebration over the past week. His ward covers downtown.

“Hundreds of 42nd Ward residents have contacted my office regarding illegal activity occurring nightly over the course of the past seven days,” Reilly’s letter said. “Residents have reported vehicles blocking traffic, drag racing and drifting, excessive horn honking, and shooting fireworks at residential buildings. Additionally, residents were stuck on Lake Shore Drive and other streets for hours with no way to access their homes due to restricted access to the downtown neighborhood.”

He went on to say the “disruptive behavior” was “completely unacceptable” and “negatively affected thousands of downtown residents.”

Contributing: Fran Spielman