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SURVIVING NATO: Your Guide to Local Road Closures and Transportation Restrictions

Use the convenient resources of Patch to plan your commute during NATO week. Cars must also be out of the Oak Lawn Metra Parking Garage one hour after the last scheduled train arrival or they will be towed.

Southland residents who take the train or drive to work in downtown Chicago should be prepared for possibly delays while world leaders convene for the 2012 NATO summit at McCormick Place from May 20 to May 21.

For the first time the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will be holding a summit in an American city other than Washington, D.C.  In addition to global leaders, over 2,000 journalists and countless demonstrators and activists are expected to inundate the Chicago region.

Use the convenience resources of Patch to monitor traffic on the roadways and find the best prices for gas.

We'll also post the latest traffic, train or bus delays on the Oak Lawn Patch Facebook page, and we invite our readers to do the same. Like O-L Patch on Facebook and tell your friends like us too.

To help you navigate your way around the NATO summit so you can get to work and school on time, here’s some helpful information on mass transit schedules and road closures to help you plan ahead.

Oak Lawn-Patriot Metra Station Parking Restrictions

Starting Saturday, May 12, through Monday, May 21, cars must be cleared from the Oak Lawn Metra Parking Garage at 95th Street and Museum Drive one hour after the last scheduled train arrives in Oak Lawn. Cars left in the garage after that time will be towed at the owner’s expense.

While don’t anticipate any major local disruptions, other parking restrictions may be imposed depending on the situation, police said.

Metra Southwest and Rock Island Lines

At this time, Metra is not planning to close any of its system-wide rail lines during the week of May 13 through May 21. The Southwest (Oak Lawn) and Rock Island (Beverly) lines are expected to operate on their regular schedules, but Metra is advising riders to anticipate delays.

Commuters can also sign up to receive Metra email alerts should delays or changes occur.

CTA Rail/Bus

CTA Bus/Rail will remain in operation during the week leading up to and throughout the NATO summit, but be prepared for rerouting of buses and trains, and possible delays. If you take the CTA Orange line to work or school, sign up to receive CTA email and text alerts.

Road Closures

Portions of I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) and Lake Shore Drive will be shut down during the summit. Other roads and interstate highways may also experience intermittent traffic delays during the week of May 13 through May 21.

Beginning Saturday, May 19, until Monday, May 21, expect intermittent traffic delays and temporary road and interstate closures and throughout downtown Chicago for motorcades traveling to and from McCormick Place and other event sites.

If you need to use the regional expressway system to get to work, school or other cultural events, affected routes include:

  • I-90/94 East and West between downtown Chicago and I-55;
  • Roosevelt Road, 18th Street, and Canal Port Avenue access from I-94 West (Dan Ryan Expressway);
  • Ohio Street from I-90/94 to Fairbanks Court/Columbus Drive;
  • Ontario Street from Fairbanks Court/Columbus Drive;
  • I-90 East and West (Kennedy Expressway) between O’Hare International Airport and downtown Chicago.

Saturday, May 19 through Monday, May 21

Other road closures and pedestrian restrictions will be implemented beginning midnight Saturday, May 19 (Friday midnight into Saturday). Affected roadways below will re-open for evening rush hour on Monday, May 21:

  • Northbound and southbound Lake Shore Drive between E. Balbo Avenue and E 39th Street;
  • Northbound and southbound I-55 between I-90/94 to Lake Shore Drive.

Museum Campus

If you were planning to visit the Art Institute, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium—all three will be closed the weekend of May 19-21 for the NATO Summit. The Field Museum will be open on Saturday May 19, but closed on Sunday and Monday, May 20 through May 21. 

Source: Chicago Police Department, Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Secret Service.

Chicago 2012 NATO Summit

To follow the summit, information on events open to the public and other NATO facts, visit the official Chicago 2012 NATO website.

This story has been updated with new information about The Field Museum's hours of operation during NATO.

Wendy May 11, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Why did the Village of Oak Lawn agree to change the name of the Metra station to the Patriot station without voter input?
OakRes May 13, 2012 at 04:59 AM
There were several articles posted on this website in regards to the matter, and it was mentioned during Village Board meetings, where it was eventually approved unanimously in February. The mayor sought community feedback for several weeks.

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