WGN Traffic Reporter Sarah Jindra’s “Street School with Sarah” is back!

The next topic: Lower Wacker Drive.

If you’re a true Chicagoan, you know how to navigate Lower Wacker Drive and use it to your benefit. But many say they are too nervous to use it.

Sarah spoke with Paul Durica from the Chicago History Museum to learn a bit more about the roadway, once referred to as “The Emerald City” for the green glow of its lights.

“I think people are just scared of the darkness, not knowing where they are and being in the bowels of the city. But it also kind of gives it a chache as well. There’s a reason it appears in the Blues Brothers, Dark Knight, Batman Begins. It’s this mysterious slightly creepy place, a city under the city,” said Durica.

Upper Wacker Drive opened to traffic in October of 1926 from Michigan Avenue to the river. With Lower Wacker pretty much in place at the time, as well. Over the years, it has expanded south past Congress and east to DuSable Lakeshore Drive.

“Looking at the history of Lower Wacker Drive, decade after decade you always find one thing that’s true, which is, it’s the greatest short cut in the city for those who feel confident and know how to use it,” Durica said.

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