Oprah to divert 15 buses, inconvenience thousands with Boul Mich shutdown

All I have to say is: Just who does she think she is, and who thought this was a good idea?

Oprah Winfrey will open the 24th season of her TV talk show by closing Michigan Avenue for two days from Wacker Drive all the way to Ohio Street. The stage for her show taping will be at the north end of the bridge, with audience sections set up in six areas all along Boul Mich to Ohio Street.

Again, who thought this was a good idea? Oh, Mayor Daley does: “This is a great thing we’re doing, I wish we could do this everyday in the city of Chicago.”

Well Richie, about 80% of Tribune readers participating in a click poll think it’s a bad thing you’re doing. And they certainly don’t want to see it happen every day.

So yes, 15 buses will have to be rerouted. Here’s the CTA’s notice and explanation about the reroutes, which start at 10 pm Sunday, Sept. 6, and last till 6 am Wednesday, Sept. 9. 


Leave a comment
  • One good thing about the whole debacle is the CTA getting their reroutes online almost a week before the event. I suppose they have all sorts of Oprah Contingency plans already in place though.

  • I can only assume that that fat dickhead -- sorry, I mean Daley, not Oprah in this case -- is taunting us by showing us yet another indignity he can slap us with and still get re-elected.

  • Another good thing is that, unless you are working on Labor Day, your commute is only impacted one day. I think it will cause even more people to come to the area just to 'see' it. Think of it as a 2.5 day movie set on Michigan (like Batman sets blocking access across Wacker 2 years ago). Let the shock settle in ... Oprah is part of this City's image, for all of the power she could wield, she's pretty easy going on all of us.

  • how does this really inconvenience people? does nobody here take the train or bike to work? the buses are being rerouted but they're still running... if you're silly enough to drive your car near Michigan Ave you then you have earned Oprah's torment :)

  • In reply to stephenw235:

    Come on Stephen! We're shutting down one of the MAJOR streets in Chicago for more than two days. People need to get to work and shopping and appointments, and some may drive, but many take buses. Esp. those who live near the lakefront and take buses that go down the Drive to Michigan Avenue.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    I do live near the lakefront now and I used to live at Roosevelt and Michigan and dealt with the Marathon in front of my apt, Obama's celebration, Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, and various parades... thats just part of living in the city. This happens in NYC all the time and its a huge net positive. Its our loss that events like this don't happen more often.

  • In reply to stephenw235:

    With the possible exception of Obama's rally (which was another ego trip, in my opinion) none of those events resulted in major thoroughfares being closed off for appreciable amounts of time on a weekday, let alone two and a half days.

  • In reply to cta34573458:

    And you think that running for president is NOT an ego trip? It's the ultimate one!

  • In reply to stephenw235:

    From the CTA page describing the reroutes, southbound buses are being diverted to Clark -- farther away than the Red Line.

    Note that the fastest route for ambulances coming north over the Chicago River to Northwestern is along Michigan as well. It takes two pretty sizeable egos to put people's lives at risk.

    And you were an optimist, Kevin: Streets and Sani trucks are out there fencing off the sidewalks *right now*.

  • In reply to BobS:

    very good point. i'm sure theyve planned the detours though, if i'm not mistaken there is a lower michigan avenue connection? or is that another street?

  • In reply to stephenw235:

    They shouldn't have to make detours!

  • In reply to BobS:

    So what if the buses are "merely" rerouted...There's a reason we paid for Navy Pier or Millennium Park and the Ghery concert venue...at least I thought there was a reason. So instead of using those places or the other Grant Park convert venue, to me better suited for Oprahpalooza, she asks for and gets MICHIGAN AVE., where not only to "rich people" shop, but poorer people work and ride through to get to work on time. And what does our clueless mayor say? "This is a great thing we're doing. I wish we could do this every day in Chicago." He then goes on to mention jobs, although I fail to see what jobs this will generate: the cops, already hired, will no doubt provide security and Oprah's folks will do what they do. Really, this is highly unnecessary and yet another burden the citizens have to deal with in Daley's quest to give us "global exposure"...as if the murder rate isn't doing that already.

  • In reply to skafiend:

    I don't think receiving global exposure for our city is a bad thing. Now, you can argue the merits of the Olympics, but living in a world class city is something I feel proud about. If you don't, go live in the suburbs or Des Moines Iowa.

    As far as jobs, I'm pretty sure Oprah employs a lot of people directly and indirectly by having her studios here. Now, this event might not be causing anyone to hire people, it is good to have such a big employer in Chicago instead of LA or NY where most TV is shot. I'd prefer if she stayed here and if we have to do something like this every once in a while, it's not a bad trade-off. Like it or not, but the 2 living people (around the world) associate Chicago with most are Oprah and Michael Jordan. That's good publicity.

  • In reply to skafiend:

    Look, I have no problem with Oprah having her show outdoos in Chicago. But I was under the assumption that this is precisely the reason they spent all of our money (mine and yours) on Millennium Park and Navy Pier, two places that provide a location that won't interrupt the flow of track nearly as much as the middle of Michigan ave. So what is "this is what Oprah wanted". Why should I give a f*** about the "feel" she wants to give her show? The Ghery stage is beautiful and gives just as great, if not better, image of the city. It can accomodate a large number of peoople, and it's far easier to control the area security-wise than Michigan Ave. And it's not just Michigan Ave that will be affects in that area, it's every street that feeds into Michigan Ave. Sorry, but this is just one more example of the skewed priorites pushed by Daley that has some of the same people here cursing his name every day.

  • In reply to skafiend:

    Your 2nd sentence claims you were "under the assumption". I don't know where you got that from, but it's wrong. See what happens when you assume...

  • In reply to skafiend:

    What I'm still not clear on is will sidewalks be closed also? How do businesses feel about it? No matter how it turns out, it is truly pathetic how Daley puts the image of the city over all the people that live and work in it!

  • In reply to BobS:

    Oh, and the vast majority of movie shoots take place at nights or on the weekends where they inconvenience a much smaller number of people.

  • In reply to BobS:

    I am convinced that we have become a city of whiners and crybabies. This is a two-day inconvenience for a relatively small number of people. Commuters have endured much worse in recent years (Brown Line station closures, three track operations on the red line, Wacker Drive reconstruction, etc.) Geez...get over it!

  • What other bus do you suggest? And how is taking that other bus going to get me through the crowds of pedestrians choking off Michigan Avenue north of the part that's block off--I've dealt with this before, when Oprah and Bono went 'shopping.' It seriously impeded those of us trying to get to work east of Michigan Av from the river all the way to the Drake.

  • That may be true, but it still doesn't excuse the fact that there are more appropriate venues down the street and off the street which would prevent the inconvenience in the first place.

  • I agree. I don't see the big deal. Some buses will use State Street instead of Michigan. Not a big deal...

    If you want to talk about traffic disasters, how about closing off nearly every exit off LSD during the Air & Water Show. Now that was stupid and annoying...

  • The only major street that's closed off for the Taste is Columbus... Michigan and Lake Shore are both still open. Fifteen minutes is a lot of extra time spent commuting in a city that's already congested, particularly if you're stuck on a packed bus with no seat.

    And, by the way, who are "most people"?

  • In reply to cta34573458:

    Yes Michigan and Lakeshore are both open, but do you have any idea how backed up Michigan Ave and Roosevelt street are because? Michigan Ave might as well be closed too, you can't get anywhere.

  • I disagree. Millennium Park would do a fantastic job, perhaps even moreso as you could probably get the entire skyline as a backdrop. Even Navy Pier or one of the beaches would be at least as impressive.

  • I think it's awesome. Oprah is putting our city on the world stage and all we can do is complain about the potential delays it will cause to our commute. Super lame.

    And the Tribune isn't really a trustworthy source for news anymore, so I wouldn't trust that poll without a grain of salt.

  • A few points:

    If you're happy about Chicago being on a "world stage," you're pretty miserably insecure about the fact that you already live in a world-class city. It isn't Oprah that makes it one. More than two million people visit Chicago every year. No one's coming to this event from any other city (unless they can drive, adding to Chicago's congestion); airfares on one week's notice are generally unaffordable. And the people who see it are going to see very little; the cameras will be pointed over the river most of the time. Viewers will fuzzily see the buildings along Wacker's south sidewalk.

    If you're in one of the ambulances that Oprah thinks should take a few minutes extra to get to Northwestern, try to hang on a few more minutes, kplz? She'd appreciate it. This event is idiotic from a public health and safety standpoint.

    By the same token, keep an eye on your valuables, wallets, and purses; it's going to be pickpocket heaven out there.

    If you think (like even Kevin) that a few thousand people are being inconvenienced, you're insane. I added up the riderships of the buses (average daily figures for September 2008 from CTA ridership reporrs on their site) and those 15 routes carry more than 120,000 people every day. That's waaaaaaaaay more than the number of people who'll be showing up for this.

    And if you think only riders between the river and Oak St. are going to be inconvenienced, you're wrong; the reroutes extend well past those boundaries. With the schedules being thrown away because the reroutes take much more time, all riders lose.

  • In reply to BobS:

    Hey Bob, excellent points made here. And thanks for taking the time to add up the actual number of riders affected. I stand corrected!

  • In reply to BobS:

    The least I can do -- thanks for giving us such a great site, Kevin. And FWIW, the total ridership on the CTA spreadsheets was somewhat higher; I rounded down because some schools aren't in session yet and it's just after a long weekend, so while I think I chose a reasonable lower limit, it could be a little lower or noticeably higher.

Leave a comment