Bears, Illini, BMW golf, Riot Fest: How to avoid the traffic
Punks, punters, putting, pitching and pits are converging this weekend in Chicago, although fortunately not at the same place. Bears and White Sox games, Riot Fest in Chicago, NASCAR racing in Joliet, the BMW Championship in Lake Forest and an Illini football match could conspire to create traffic angst for sports lovers, punk-rock fans and unsuspecting drivers.
Have no fear, suburban commuter. Here's the lowdown on what to expect plus a few tips to get around faster.
• Brandt Snedeker and Jim Furyk are tied for the lead so far at the BMW Championship at Conway Farms in Lake Forest. First tee starts at 7:25 a.m. today and Sunday.
• The White Sox could spoil the Cleveland Indians' wild-card dreams at 6:10 p.m. today and 1:10 p.m. Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.
• The Fighting Illini will try to tame the University of Washington Huskies at 5 p.m. today, with pregame entertainment starting at 1 p.m., at Soldier Field in Chicago.
• The Violent Femmes and Public Enemy will turn the volume up to 11 at Riot Fest in Chicago's Humboldt Park with music starting at 11:30 a.m. today and 11:45 a.m. Sunday.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. and 11 top racers rev up the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet this weekend. The main event -- the Geico 400 -- kicks off Sunday.
• And, of course, at noon Sunday, cerebral Bears coach Marc Trestman will try to outmaneuver the Minnesota Viking's wily Adrian Peterson.
What could go wrong?
• Drivers on the Eisenhower or Stevenson Expressways headed to Illini, Sox and Bears games cause traffic jams and clash with punk rockers as well as NASCAR fans.
• Golf enthusiasts, Lake County commuters and Wisconsin-bound vacationers clog the Tri-State and local roads en route to Lake Forest. Oh, wait -- that already happened Friday.
What to do?
• Just take transit. There's a free shuttle service to the BMW Championship from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Lake Forest's two Metra stations.
Pace has express buses from the suburbs to the White Sox and Bears games, with information at www.pacebus.com. The CTA's No. 128 Soldier Field Express bus operates two hours before the football game and an hour after, connecting Oglivie Transportation Center, Union Station and Soldier Field.
Parking is terrible around Humboldt Park, so if you're headed for Riot Fest, your best bet is Metra and the CTA. And, shuttle buses to the Chicagoland Speedway also operate from Joliet Union Station for $6 round trip, with advance purchase required.
• If you drive: I-90 road warriors should give themselves extra time for construction between Elgin and Rockford in the westbound lanes plus prep work on the shoulders in both directions from Elgin to Chicago. And Stevenson Expressway drivers headed to Joliet should watch out for construction on the Des Plaines River bridge.
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