Home » Someone Drove A Car On To The Chicago Riverwalk, Baffling Locals

Someone Drove A Car On To The Chicago Riverwalk, Baffling Locals

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The Chicago Riverwalk is a lovely pathway for taking a stroll along the city’s namesake river. Well, that’s usually the case, except when there’s a compact sedan slinking through what is supposed to be a pedestrian-only area.

The world was alerted to these shenanigans on Tuesday thanks to a video shared by Lettuce Cat on Twitter. The footage shows a silver sedan driving slowly on the pedestrian walkway in a westward direction. The driver traveled past the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk and under the North Columbus Drive bridge.

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The vehicle in question appears to be a seventh-generation Honda Civic, though no license plate is visible in the video. Details at this stage remain slim. The Autopian has reached out to Lettuce Cat and local authorities for more information.

At this stage, it appears likely the vehicle gained access to the Riverwalk via North New Street. According to WGN9, this is one of the only points on the walkway that is easily accessible for road vehicles. The incident happened “around 7:23 PM” according to Lettuce Cat.
“My theories are the same as everyone else’s, a wrong turn by Lizzie McNeill’s,” Lettuce Cat told The Autopian. “I was just in utter disbelief at first, but I’m not too surprised it happened based on my experiences with Chicago drivers.”

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Twitter commentators posted similar theories online. It’s plausible that a confused driver may have turned onto the River Esplanade from North New Street. Perhaps, they were confused by GPS directions and followed blindly until they ended up on the walkway. Street View images on Google Maps suggest there are no bollards preventing vehicular access to the River Esplanade. If restaurants still operate along that stretch, the driver would likely have found themselves driving past tables and chairs almost immediately. However, if the area was bare and free of pedestrians, they may not have realized they were in a pedestrian-only area.

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It’s currently unclear how (or if!) the vehicle left the Chicago Riverwalk. The Autopian has asked Chicago police for comment on the matter and will update this article accordingly.

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From a personal standpoint, I’m almost surprised this was able to happen. Most Australian cities have heavy bollards protecting downtown pedestrian areas after intentional vehicular attacks became more common around the world. Many American cities do the same.

Chicago, on the other hand, appears to be trusting locals to know not to drive on the riverside walkway. It’s good to trust people, but it’s clear that isn’t enough to keep cars off the Chicago Riverwalk. More as we have it.

Image credit: Lettuce Cat via Twitter screenshot, Google Maps

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Morgan Thomas
Morgan Thomas
8 days ago

Bollards to block off vehicular access are usually spaced as far apart as possible while still being close enough together to block car access (fewer bollards = cheaper). But years ago, when a friend owned a Mazda 1300 wagon, we discovered it was JUST narrow enough to fit through most bollard barriers, so we spent a lot of time driving in places we weren’t supposed to, including over footbridges, down bike paths, and through lots of parks. One one notable occasion we misjudged slightly and drove through a gap 3/4″ narrower than the car – or at least the car WAS wider BEFORE we squeezed through!

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
8 days ago

In all my visits to Chicago, I don’t think I ever noticed there is a Lower Wacker Drive. Let alone an East Lower Wacker Drive. I guess I missed all the fun.

Mantis Toboggan, MD
Mantis Toboggan, MD
8 days ago

A decade or so back my state capital had to install a bunch of bollards and crash barriers around the legislature and the Governor’s mansion as on multiple occasions people, some but not all of them drunk, crashed into those buildings and some of the various statues and memorials on the grounds. It was a bit of an embarrassment but if we can’t stop DUIs or teach people to drive I guess we can at least mitigate the damage.

Tim Cushing
Tim Cushing
8 days ago

Just another night at the Squidport. I wonder if the mayor yelled at them.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
8 days ago

The stupid is unsurprising,, in Portland someone driving onto the I-205 bike path is an annual event.

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
8 days ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

Legend is that Toronto Queen’s Quay streetcars are scheduled to avoid the drivers entering their tunnel. Now that I read that back to myself I realize it seems kind of kinky.

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