Bodhi Spiritual Center says, “You are fabulous”.
After last year’s near-meltown of transportation surrounding post-parade trips, parade organizers, aldermen, and the city redesigns the parade route, to make it longer and eliminate the hard to access “internal triangle” between Halsted and Broadway (with a vertex at Grace/Halsted/Broadway). The meltdown was that thousands of people tried to board at the CTA Belmont Station. The station stopped allowing new passengers 5 times to ease overcrowding. I can’t recall if trains had to skip the station because they were full.
The new design allowed for better access from more CTA train stations, more bus routes, and allowed for more even spectator dispersal along the route (with 6 pedestrian crossings operated by many police officers). The CTA, which is usually very good at communicating service changes, made a webpage dedicated to the Pride Parade and even designed their own map. That and their social media communication stressed the other stations paradeogers should use: Wilson, Sheridan, Addison, and Fullerton. That was in addition to the other bus routes that now had closer access to the changed route.
I wrote about the 2011 transportation experience on Grid Chicago in which I suggested shutting down private vehicle traffic on more streets and further away from the parade route, allowing only buses and bicyclists. I couldn’t tell if that happened this year. Last year I entered the parade “shed” on Belmont and then Addison. All east-west streets it seemed were closed to traffic from Clark Street to Halsted Street (which is a good thing). Clark Street was closed this year for a couple of blocks south of Diversey Avenue (also a good thing).
Chicago Fire Department miniature trucks.
I didn’t notice these last year, but the fire department utilized ATV-like trucks to transport sick spectators. I didn’t see any Chicago police officers riding ATVs, but I may have read the department abandoned those because of their increased danger on crowds and the officer driving it.
I think the route changes were effective in making for a better (and safer) parade experience. Organizers and the City’s OEMC estimated attendance at 850,000, just 50,000 over last year. Because of the changes and the great weather (it was very breezy), I expected a higher increase. Some people who attended last year may have been turned off by the unease of the crowded viewing experience.