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Pride Parade "Victim of Its Own Success;" Prompting Changes

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 5, 2011 1:00PM

Next year's Chicago Pride Parade will have some new wrinkles next year in an effort to accommodate crowds and curb public drinking. The city announced changes to the parade route yesterday including an altered route, less float entries and an earlier start time.

Instead of starting the parade at Belmont and Halsted, the parade will now start at Montrose and Broadway and work south to Halsted, then east on Belmont before returning to Broadway and turning onto Diversey before ending at Cannon Drive.

The new route adds five blocks to the parade route and city officials hope it ends the "choke points" along the old route, which started at Belmont and Halsted. The new route gives attendees two more CTA stations to reach the parade and frees up streets for emergency response.

An estimated 800,000 people attended this year's Pride Parade and most were penned into an area bounded by Halsted on the west, Broadway on the east and Belmont on the south, with Halsted and Broadway intersecting on the north. Eliminating the choke points and extending the route north to Montrose and Broadway looks like a good idea, on paper.

The number of float entries has been reduced from 250 to a slightly less fabulous 200. Probably the most telling new change to the parade is the start time. Both 44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney and parade coordinator Richard Pfeiffer believe moving the start time of the parade from noon to 10 a.m. will reduce the amount of public drinking.

We think Pfeiffer and Tunney are sorely underestimating the willingness of gays to throw a party and most everyone else to have an excuse to start drinking early. Unless police are going to start inspecting coolers and crack down on people walking down the street brown-bagging a double deuce can of beer, we're going to take a wait-and-see approach to how the new start time affects public drinking.

The Pride Parade isn't the only LGBT-themed parade changing routes. Yesterday the Chicago Dyke March Collective announced their 2012 and 2013 marches would be held along Argyle Street in Uptown. CDMC moves their parade to a different neighborhood every two years. South Shore was home to the Dyke march this year and in 2010 while they Pilsen was graced with their collective presence in 2008 and 2009.