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Route Change, Shift In Location Announced For Ever-Growing Women's March

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jan 19, 2017 9:26PM

Liz Radford, Co-chair of the Women's March on Chicago speaks at a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday, January 17th. Photo by Aaron Cynic/Chicagoist

As the expected crowd for Saturday's massive Women’s Rally on Chicago still continues to grow, organizers announced a few more changes that attendees should know: the location has shifted again (although only slightly); the march route has been shortened; and some nearby streets will be closed to help accommodate the overflow.

The rally will now be held at Jackson and Columbus, one block west of its prior location, at Jackson and Lake Shore Drive. The starting-point rally was initially slated to place at the Petrillo Bandshell, but organizers feared that, after several days of rain, the large crowds might muddy the grass at Grant Park. (Organizers now expect some 50,000 people to attend.) Marchers are asked to enter the rally space via Balbo or Congress onto Columbus.

Aside from the minor change in start location, the march rally has been significantly shortened. Demonstrators were originally to march west, then all the way north to Randolph and loop back. Marchers will still head west, from Jackson and Columbus; but the route will no longer head north, instead stopping at Federal Plaza, just a few city block west of the rally point.

It might seem paradoxical to shorten the parade route in order to accommodate more people, but organizers are convinced that added street closures around the rallying point, including Columbus between Randolph and Balbo, will provide the necessary space. The stretches of Monroe, Jackson and Congress between Michigan and Lake Shore will also be closed.

"Due to the number of totally passionate women and their allies participating, the city has agreed to close Columbus," march co-chairwoman Ann Scholhamer told the Tribune. "We're really excited about this. It really guarantees enough room for our marchers."

With such huge crowds expected, CTA is probably your best bet. The transit agency announced on Thursday that most lines will have longer trains running between early morning and mid-afternoon, allowing easier movement for the creatively signed masses.

The centerpiece of the march and rally will be reproductive rights, but the umbrella will extend much larger, organizers said. “[I]t’s also immigration, it’s gun violence, it’s LGBTQ rights, civil liberties, racial equality, respect for different faiths,” Liz Radford told Chicagoist earlier this month.

Women's March on Chicago