4 Things You Didn’t Know About Chicago’s Wacker Drive and tips to Navigate from the New Eastside

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Chicago’s Wacker Drive and tips to Navigate from the New Eastside

An engineering marvel to behold, Chicago’s Wacker Drive is a three-story pyramid of levels, decks, and tunnels. Its sheer size would be enough to intimidate drivers and pedestrians alike but matters are compounded by its lack of signage, landmarks, GPS signals, and natural light. Most travelers will agree that Wacker Drive takes on a life of its own below the urban surface. Something straight out of movies, Lower Wacker and Lower Lower Wacker are indeed dark and intimidating, but for those residents living in the New Eastside, the lower portion of Wacker can actually be a showcase the city above puts on down below. Here are four interesting things about Chicago’s Wacker Drive you may not know about.

Wacker Is Multi-Level

Wacker Drive is just over two miles long with a ninety-degree turn at its northwest corner. While this bend can make for very confusing directions, it isn’t the most unique characteristic of Wacker. Wacker Drive boasts not one, but three levels of foot and vehicle traffic! The lowest (and shortest) level is called “Lower Lower Wacker” and then there is the middle level, typically referred to as “Lower Wacker,” with the highest level normally being called “Upper Wacker” or just “Wacker.”

New Eastside Tip: The best access point to Lower Wacker is actually through Lower Lower Wacker. Very confusing indeed, especially because you enter the New Eastside differently than you exit the neighborhood. Taking the time to learn Upper and Lower Columbus’ zig-zag ramps will serve residents greatly. A suggestion is to drive around on a Sunday morning when it’s quiet with minimal traffic to learn traffic flows.

Lower Wacker Moves Faster

If you are looking to avoid rush hour traffic in the Loop, you should consider Lower Wacker. While it is certainly not going to avoid traffic jams altogether, things will move faster. Plus, Lower Wacker connects to the Kennedy I-90, Eisenhower I-290, and DuSable Lake Shore Drive, depending on which direction you are coming from.

New Eastside Tip: Lower Wacker takes you to Harrison Street and the expressway in about five minutes!

Lower Lower Wacker Was Once a Drag Racing Track

In the early 2000’s groups of street racers would gather in the lowest areas of Wacker Drive to match up their high-powered cars and race head-to-head. While it was difficult to estimate exactly how long the events had been taking place, many thought for decades. As residential developments in the New Eastside were completed, people began to complain about the noise these high-speed races created. This public outcry encouraged law enforcement to pay more attention to patrolling Lower Lower Wacker at night.

New Eastside Tip: Driving in some areas of Lower Lower Wacker can be a bumpy ride. The City of Chicago has implemented speed bumps every 30 feet in an effort to deter future drag racing!

With so many exciting amenities and recreational opportunities, The New Eastside holds amazing living choices for single people and families. If you are interested in learning more about Lakeshore East and surrounding areas, please contact premier agent Ginger Menne today! ginger@gingermenne.com

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New Eastside Living

Ginger Menne
737 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 1800
Chicago, IL 60611

Tel (312) 927-0852
Off (312) 216-5887
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