CTA Bus passengers, motorists stuck on Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive

This week’s blizzard that swept across the nation hit Chicago especially hard. Heavy snow and icy conditions on Lake Shore Drive had initially rendered it very slow although passable. But bus riders and motorists found themselves stranded after a series of crashes, including a bus accident, stopped traffic.

Passengers on the number 146 bus were stranded for about eight hours. Although initially calm, after several hours, passengers started to worry about the bus running out of fuel and the lack of provisions they might need if they were stranded much longer. Looming large was the sense that there was not a clear plan to rescue them in the near future, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune.

For passengers on the 146, relief came at about 11:00 pm when another bus arrived to rescue the passengers from the bus that was stuck in the midst of cars that had snowdrifts blowing over their hoods.

Transportation is beginning to return to normal today after Lakeshore Drive has reopened. At O’Hare and Midway airports, some commercial flights began flying again after more than 1,000 cancellations and virtually no air traffic on Wednesday. Metra was running a limited schedule for many trains today after several trains were stuck for more than an hour yesterday. Trains are reported to be running behind this morning due in part to cars stuck on the tracks at railroad crossings. At 6:30 this morning, a Rock Island train struck a car that had slid onto the tracks in Tinley Park.

City officials have been criticized for waiting until late Tuesday night to close Lake Shore Drive, by which time hundreds of motorist and transit passengers were already stranded. The Mayor’s Chief of Staff, Raymond Orozco, said that it had been a judgment call based on the number of people who count on Lake Shore Drive to get home, and how closing it may have caused gridlock on surrounding streets.

Source: Chicago Tribune A long bus ride to the middle of nowhere Dahleen Glanton, February 2, 2011

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