Two stops on the city’s free summer trolley system were relocated Thursday afternoon to take them out of the Michigan Avenue construction zone that will be established next week and reduce traffic to two lanes in each direction between Adams and Van Buren.
The trolley stops, until now on both sides of Michigan Avenue just south of Adams, were moved to mid-block between Monroe and Adams in advance of the construction, which begins Monday, July 23, according to Public Building Commission executive director Eileen Carey.
The free trolleys are an extremely popular shuttle service that connects many of Chicago’s most visited destinations between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They include stops at Michigan Avenue, Navy Pier, the Museum Campus and-on weekends-Lincoln Park.
The construction work starting Monday is part of the rebuilding of the 38-year-old Grant Park South underground parking garage and will affect the portions of Michigan Avenue and Jackson Drive that run atop the roof of the garage.
While Michigan Avenue will be reduced to two lanes in each direction, Jackson will be closed from Michigan to Columbus. Jackson will reopen next June 24, Michigan Avenue will be back to six lanes by August 2002 and the rebuilt garage will reopen with its 1,300 spaces the following month. The project will be entirely completed by Thanksgiving 2002.
The biggest effect on motorists is that all traffic-two lanes in each direction-will be moved to the west half of Michigan Avenue next week and remain there until this Thanksgiving while the east side of the street is rebuilt. Then, the traffic will shift to that east side while the west half of Michigan Avenue is reconstructed through next June, Carey explained.
During that second phase, between this Thanksgiving and the end of next June, both sides of Jackson will be closed to through traffic, Carey noted.
To ensure the construction has the minimum-possible impact on the businesses along that two-block stretch of Michigan Avenue, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce has been assisting the Public Building Commission in offering to help any affected by the construction.
The chamber has a special hotline (312-494-6712) to help businesses resolve any special problems related to the changed traffic pattern, according to Chamber CEO Gerald Roper. All of the businesses along the construction zone will remain open and accessible during the roadwork, which will not intrude on the west Michigan Avenue sidewalk even when construction is on that half of the street.
Also affected by the lane reductions will be the CTA, which will temporarily remove its Jackson bus stops on both sides of the street and move the southbound Van Buren stop further south out of the construction zone.
Metra riders accustomed to exiting onto Jackson will not be able to reach Michigan Avenue during the construction and are being rerouted to the Van Buren exit.
All of the other underground parking garages are north of the construction zone and will remain open throughout the project. They are Grant Park North, with 1,800 parking spaces; Millennium, with 1,550 spaces; and East Monroe, with 3,800 spaces. The Grant Park North garage was renovated last year in a project virtually identical to the one starting Monday and with the same effect on Michigan Avenue traffic.