The Campaign for a Free and Clear Lakefront is a grassroots coalition to remove Lakeshore Drive from Grant Park, and eventually the entire Chicago shoreline.

100 Years Later Burnham's Back! And He's Not Happy

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Burnham Centennial Lakefront Vision Ride
Sunday, August 30, 2009, 2pm, meet at Daley Plaza

At The Plan of Chicago’s 100th Anniversary, Burnham's vision for a tranquil shoreline remains violated by a vulgar 8-lane superhighway.

Though Burnham may have been the most eloquent advocate for Chicago's lakefront, he wasn't the first. The 1836 the Canal Commission decreed the lakefront to be “Public Ground — Common to Remain Forever Open, Clear, and Free of Any Buildings, or Other Obstruction Whatever.”

Decades before Burnham’s plan, Cap and Ma Streeter used a shotgun to defend the lakefront from encroaching development. Montgomery Ward fought countless legal battles to preserve the lakefront as openspace.

Chicagoans can thank our forebears for bequeathing the city a largely uncluttered lakefront.

But unfortunately, today an 8-lane superhighway separates Chicago from a truly free and clear shoreline. A movement is growing to restore Burnham's vision by eliminating the pollution, dangers and unsightliness of Lake Shore Drive.

On August 30, cyclists will join Chicago 's premiere Daniel Burnham and Montgomery Ward impersonators for the Lakefront Vision Ride, a leisurely tour to learn about Burnham's lakefront legacy directly from the famous planner and to plot a future course for a free Chicago shoreline. New this year will be a cameo appearance by Cap Streeter.

"The Vision Ride is a fun way to educate Chicagoans about our vibrant lakefront history," said Jim Redd, who plays Daniel Burnham on the ride. "Today, we have a beautiful, open lakefront because because Burnham and other courageous people throughout Chicago’s history have been willing to fight for what’s right. Now, the future’s up to us."

The ride is sponsored by the Campaign for a Free and Clear Lakefront, a grass roots coalition working to remove Lake Shore Drive from Grant Park and eventually from the entire length of the Chicago shoreline. More info at