By now, thousands of tourists and many native to Chicago are prepping for the start of Lollapalooza, the major music festival that takes place in Grant Park every year. Unlike many of the prior iterations of Lollapalooza, the festivities will begin tonight at 7:00 p.m., stretching the festival over the four day period from Thursday through Sunday. Lollapalooza boasts eight separate music stages and more than 170 music bands during the course of the festival that is expected to entertain hundreds of thousands. In fact, in three days last year, total attendance reached more than 300,000 with approximately 100,000 in attendance daily.
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune noted that area hospitals treated 88 intoxicated teenagers during a three-day Lollapalooza in 2015. That was a decrease from 2014 but still almost nine times as high as an average weekend in Chicago, indicating that emergency rooms in the city may be overrun at times during the festival this year.
Alcohol is a major factor in the events surrounding Lollapalooza and in the lives of many who attend the festival. Unfortunately, alcohol also is expected to play a role in the transit of concert-goers both to and from Grant Park this year with drunk driving accidents expected. Though the majority heading to Lollapalooza will choose not to drive a personal car, some will, and if past years are any indication, some will drive those cars after they have been drinking.
Public transportation is a much more utilized means of transit when Lollapalooza is in town. The CTA buses and trains, as well as the Metra commuter trains, are likely to be packed with those headed to and from downtown even though both organizations will be increasing their services to the area. This in turn means that areas around bus stops, L stations, Union Station, and Ogilvie Transportation Center should see larger than normal pedestrian crowds. Many of these walkers will be unfamiliar with the city’s layout and with how to get to their intended designations which means that some may step out into traffic mid-block, cross against a pedestrian crossing signal, or otherwise take action that leads to a pedestrian accident.
Remember that an increasing number of cyclists are expected to ride their bicycles to the festival which will increase pedal traffic in the Loop and throughout downtown. It is the duty of both the riders of bikes and the drivers of car to respect the rights of one another and proceed in a manner that keeps everyone as safe as possible, thereby limiting or even eliminating bicycle accidents that otherwise may occur.
Lollapalooza is a wonderful experience for the vast majority who choose to participate in the festival’s events and it bring in significant funds as tourists pack hotels, eat at restaurants, use taxis, and shop the city. But it does have its drawbacks and safety concerns on and near public roadways are some of the greatest. If you will be at Lollapalooza or if you will be in the downtown Chicago area between Thursday evening and Sunday night, make sure you exercise increased caution and be prepared to act with little warning so that you can stay free from injuries and harm this weekend.
Prior Blog Entry:
American Traffic Deaths Increased 7.7 Percent in 2015, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published July 25, 2016.
Hospital prepping for annual influx of drunken teenagers from Lollapalooza, by Marion Renault, Chicago Tribune, published July 20, 2016.