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Hate the S-Curve? Weigh in on Lake Shore Drive's Future at August Meetings

 The Illinois and Chicago departments of transportation are conducting a study to determine what changes will be made to North Lake Shore Drive.
Lake Shore Drive
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CHICAGO — Hate the S-curve on Lake Shore Drive? Get annoyed when trying to dodge pedestrians on the lakefront path? Do you wish drivers were banned from exiting on Chicago Avenue?

Now's your chance to affect an iconic part of Chicago by sounding off on the future of North Lake Shore Drove.

The Illinois and Chicago Departments of Transportation are hosting three public meetings next month as part of a pre-construction study dubbed "Redefine the Drive." 

The meetings are from 6 to 8 p.m. on Aug. 6 at 825 W. Sheridan Road, Aug. 7 at 1145 W. Wilson Ave. and Aug. 8 at 2430 N. Cannon Drive.

Ideas from the meetings will help determine changes along North Lake Shore Drive from Grand Avenue to Hollywood Boulevard.

Actually redefining the drive, which has infrastructure that dates to the 1930s and has seen little change since the 1990s, will require extensive outreach for "creative community-based ideas," officials said.

Some groups already have weighed in.

On Thursday, 15 organizations submitted a joint platform, Our Lakefront, that calls for a separate bike facility, boardwalks and less land dedicated to parking lots, among other changes.

Without bold improvements that focus on livability, North Lake Shore Drive could turn into a "superhighway that serves as an ever-widening barrier between Chicago and its lakefront," according to the proposal by groups including the Active Transportation Alliance, the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Metropolitan Planning Council.

"The redesign of North Lake Shore Drive represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really redefine how we think about and use North Lake Shore Drive," said Chrissy Mancini, a director of the Metropolitan Planning Council. "We want to encourage people to attend the meetings and let their voices be heard."

Mancini said the city and state want to hear any ideas attendees have, though Redefine the Drive said choosing a plan and construction will take years.

"This is going to be a massive investment in our lakefront," Mancini said.

The hearings on North Lake Shore Drive come at the end of another years-long planning process, the reconstruction of the Circle Interchange in the West Loop. Construction on that project began earlier this month.