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Chicagoans, are you ready for the NATO Summit?

The NATO Summit is quickly approaching, and will be taking over the city of Chicago from May 20-21.

For some businesses, this event will cause disruptions, as many employers are required to shut down for the few days, losing valuable time and money. For our business personally,  VinTech has been affected with our OEMC projects/clients. There are some projects that we have that require us to connect public security cameras to the OEMC. These projects have been held up at least a month before the NATO summit, and we won’t be able to get them done until at least 2 weeks after the Summit.

Is your business prepared, and what should you know as a resident? We recently blogged about the ways to work with the Chicago police during this highly secured event, and the following are more tips that you need to know for preparing for the 2012 NATO Summit:


During the summit this May, the City of Chicago will be relying on the “Notify Chicago” system to keep residents and visitors updated on traffic issues. For example, this alert system will inform users about street closures, bus reroutes, and potential delays. Sign up for this free text, email, or phone alert service through the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Expressways and major roadways leading to and from the Central Business District will be closed or restricted, bans on parking will be implemented and there will be limited or restricted access to McCormick Place and the Museum Campus attractions along the lakefront.

Road closures and parking restrictions also are in place for the area around the Willis Tower, Chicago Cultural Center and Art Institute of Chicago.

Listed below are potential traffic impacts Saturday, May 19th through 6 pm Monday, May 21st:

  • Lake Shore Drive (LSD) from 39th street to Balbo will be closed
  • Access to 1-55 southbound and access to LSD via 1-55 northbound will be closed
  • I-55 northbound from  I-90/94 to LSD will be closed
  • Columbus Drive from Balbo to McFetridge will be closed
  • Roosevelt Road from Michigan Avenue to LSD will be closed
  • Indiana Avenue from 21st street to 25th Street will be closed
  • 31st Street from Martin Luther King Drive to LSD will be closed
  • Martin Luther King Drive from Cermak to 26th street will be closed
  • Cermak from Michigan Avenue to Martin Luther King Drive will be closed
  • Ontario street from Orleans to Fairbanks will be intermittently closed
  • Ohio street from Orleans to Fairbanks will be intermittently closed
  • Clark street from Oak Street to Ontario will experience lane reductions
  • Dearborn street from Kinzie to Ontario Street will experience lane reductions

To download a map of closures and reroutes, click here.

CTA Reroutes and Service Disruptions

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has created a list of planned reroutes and service disruptions as necessitated by planned road closures during the Summit weekend. This list, as well as tips for making your commute on the CTA run smoothly can be found at:

Protest Marches & Rally Announced for May 18 & 20     

1.   May 18: National Nurses United will march from the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers at 301 North Water Street to the Daley Center at Randolph and Dearborn Streets. The march will begin at 11 a.m. and the rally at the Daley Center will start at 12:15 p.m. Click here for more information.

2.   May 20: The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty Agenda will march from the Petrillo Bandshell in Grant Park south to McCormick Place. The march will begin at noon. Click here for more details.

3.   May 20: The Veterans March for Justice & Reconciliation will hold a rally the Lincoln Monument in Grant Park beginning at 9 a.m.  Click here for more details.

 As a Resident…What Should I Know?

Please be aware of delays- CTA, bus routes, and restrictions traveling downtown as outlined above. If you plan on flying, please be aware of delays at O’Hare International Airport. O’Hare may allocate a runway for use by planes carrying NATO dignitaries, which might affect regular air traffic.

There are also many benefits for our city of Chicago, such as:

  • Short Term Uptick in Economic Activity: With all the guests in town, our economy will be boosted in industries like hospitality and retail, providing the city with a significant, positive economic impact.
  • Heightened International Profile: Thousands of journalists will write stories highlighting the city and its strengths.
  • New Long Term Benefits: The city is uniquely well-positioned to capture many long-term economic benefits associated with the NATO summit: Chicago’s existing international outreach, ethnic diversity, established network of Sister Cities, and active consulates provide a foundation to strengthen current ties and create new relationships.
  • Special Programming and Events: The city will have special programming including sporting events; a video project for students; and a citywide dine-around program for which Chicago’s restaurants will be creating custom global menus.

As a Business…What Should I Know?

As the May 2012 Chicago NATO Summit aNATO Summit Hillard Heintzepproaches, fundamental best practices in security, emergency management, and response and recovery for business operations become even more critical.

If you are a senior executive and decision maker for a Chicago-area business, you need to have confidence that you have evaluated your assets, operations and exposure and have adequately asked and answered critical questions related to the following:

  • Strategic and Tactical Security Operations
  • Emergency Management and Preparedness
  • Response and Recovery Plans to Continue Business Operations

 Click HERE to view a quick Critical Steps Preparation Guide.

Buildings are advised that should any situation warrant the closure of an area, the City’s Facility Incident Management System (FIMS) will be the basis for any access control measures implemented by City authorities. Failure to be properly registered may delay or prohibit critical access. Registration with FIMS is through the CP3 portal. Click here for directions on how to register with FIMS.

Click here to download the complete security restrictions and transportation plan. It is highly recommended that all Building Managers keep this information handy and share with tenants and staff.

Click to watch LiveAtState virtual press conference on U.S.-NATO relations and the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago with U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ambassador Ivo Daalder.

Although we must be prepared, it’s a very exciting time for Chicago. This meeting will allow “the city to highlight its economic vitality, its arts and architecture, and its can-do spirit.” As our Mayor Rahm Emanuel says, “Chicago is a magnet for those who think big. There’s no better place for leaders to find solutions to the world’s biggest challenges than right here in the President’s hometown.” We know our city’s guests will love Chicago as much as we do.

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