The Vote to Rename Lake Shore Drive
I was one of 15 alderman to vote NO on the final compromise version of the ordinance to change the name of Lake Shore Drive in order to recognize Jean Baptiste Point du Sable, the first non-native settler of this region. My 3 main reasons were as follows:
1) Lake Shore Drive is a name that is recognized internationally, and reflects the history of Chicago in its own right. Changing it was a decidedly unpopular idea in a citywide poll I conducted with Ald. Reilly, with 41% of voters opposed, 32% in favor, with 27% undecided. And contrary to what you may have heard on social media, support for this idea remained under 50% in EVERY part of the city. Most Chicagoans didn't want this.
2) a better alternative with widespread support was available: there was growing support to re-name Millennium Park for du Sable. It is my belief that if we were asked to vote on that suggestion instead, it would have passed unanimously, and without the bitter, divisive accusations that fueled controversy at every step.
3) a potential negative impact on residential addresses in Streeterville, and confusion with GPS devices. Fortunately, the compromise version of the ordinance contains a provision that allows Inner Lake Shore Drive, East Lake Shore Drive, and the lower level of the Outer Drive (between Ohio St and Randolph St, including the bridge) to keep the original name. Thus, for buildings in Streeterville such as Lake Point Tower, if they choose to affix their GPS location to the lower level of the roadway, they should be able to continue using "Lake Shore Drive" as their address.
To view my comments made at Friday's Chicago City Council meeting, please click below.
(Turn on sound in bottom corner)