Roads and expressways in Chicago summarizes the main thoroughfares and the numbering system used in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.
Chicago's streets were laid out in a grid that grew from the city's original townsite plan platted by James Thompson. Streets following the Public Land Survey System section lines later became arterial streets in outlying sections. As new additions to the city were platted, city ordinance required them to be laid out with eight streets to the mile in one direction and 16 in the other direction. A scattering of diagonal streets, many of them originally Native American trails, also cross the city. Many additional diagonal streets were recommended in the Plan of Chicago, but only the extension of Ogden Avenue was ever constructed. In the 1950s and 1960s, a network of superhighways was built radiating from the city center.
As the city grew and annexed adjacent towns, problems arose with duplicate street names and a confusing numbering system based on the Chicago River. On June 22, 1908, the city council adopted a system proposed by Edward P. Brennan; amended June 21, 1909. The changes were effective September 1, 1909 for most of the city.
Addresses in Chicago and some suburbs are numbered outward from baselines at State Street, which runs north and south, and Madison Street, which runs east and west.
A book was published in 1909 by The Chicago Directory Company indexing the old and new street numbers for most of Chicago. This volume is available online in PDF format indexed by initial letter, Plan of Re-Numbering, City of Chicago, August 1909. The opening text of the book says: EXPLANATORY
The new house numbering plan passed by the City Council June 22, 1908, to be in force and effect September 1, 1909, makes Madison Street from Lake Michigan to the city limits on the west the base line for numbering all north and south streets and streets running in northerly or southerly direction. For east and west streets and streets running in a generally east and west direction the base line is State Street from the southern city boundary line to North Avenue, thence extended by an imaginary line through Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan.
The downtown area did not conform to this system until April 1, 1911, per an amendment to the law on June 20, 1910. Downtown was defined as Lake Michigan on the east, Roosevelt Road (Twelfth Street) on the south, and the Chicago River on the north and west. The addition to cover downtown was published, and is also on line as a pdf indexed by downtown street name.
This additional paragraph explained the downtown changes:
The 1909 address change did not affect downtown Chicago, between the river and Roosevelt Road, the river and Lake Michigan. The ordinance was amended June 20, 1910 to include the downtown area. The new addresses for the “loop” went into use on April 1, 1911.
Chicago house numbers are generally assigned at the rate of 800 to a mile. The only exceptions are from Madison to 31st Street, just south of downtown. Roosevelt Road (previously Twelfth St) is one mile south of Madison with 1200 addresses to the mile, Cermak Road (previously 22nd Street) is two miles south of Madison with 1000 addresses to the mile, and 31st Street (3100 S) is three miles south of Madison with 900 addresses to the mile. South of 31st Street, the pattern of 800 to the mile resumes, with 39th Street the next major street, 47th after that, and so on. Individual house numbers are normally assigned at the rate of one per 20 feet of frontage. Thus the last two digits of house numbers generally go only as high as 67 before the next block number is reached. Higher house numbers are found on diagonal streets and have sometimes been assigned by request.
The blocks are normally counted out by "hundreds," so that Chicagoans routinely give directions by saying things such as "about twelve hundred north on Western" or "around twenty-four hundred west on Division" (which both describe the intersection of Western Avenue (2400 W) and Division Street (1200 N)).
South of Madison Street most of the east–west streets are simply numbered. The street numbering is aligned with the house numbering, so that 95th Street is exactly 9500 South. "Half-block" east–west thoroughfares in this area are numbered and called places; 95th Place would lie just south of and parallel to 95th Street, and just north of 96th Street.
Every four blocks (half-mile) is a major secondary street. For example, Division Street (1200 N) is less important than either Chicago Avenue (800 N) or North Avenue (1600 N), but is still a major thoroughfare. However, this is not always the case; for example, on the city's Far North Side, Peterson Avenue (6000 N) is a more heavily trafficked street than Bryn Mawr Avenue (5600 N), which sits exactly at the 7-mile marker. U.S. Route 14 is routed along Peterson between Clark Street at 1600 W and Cicero Avenue at 4800 W, whereas Bryn Mawr is discontinuous, split into two segments in this part of the city by Rosehill Cemetery between Damen and Western Avenues.
Even-numbered addresses are found on the north and west sides of a street, and odd numbers are found on the south and east sides, irrespective of the streets' position relative to the corner of State and Madison.
Diagonals, even if they were to run exactly 45 degrees off of the cardinal directions, are numbered as if they were north–south or east–west streets. Examples are North Lincoln Avenue and Ogden Avenue, which bends at Madison and changes from North Ogden to West Ogden.
The northernmost street in Chicago is Juneway Terrace (7800 N), just north of Howard Street. The southern boundary is 138th Street. The eastern boundary of Chicago is Avenue A/State Line Road (4100 E) along and south of 106th Street, and the furthest west the city extends is in the portion of O'Hare International Airport that lies in DuPage County, just east of Elmhurst/York Road.
See also: List of Chicago placename etymologies
While all north–south streets within city limits are named, rather than numbered, smaller streets in some areas are named in groups all starting with the same letter; thus, when traveling westward on a Chicago street, starting just past Pulaski Road (4000 W), one will cross a mile-long stretch of streets which have names starting with the letter K (From east to west: Keystone (North Side)/Komensky (South Side), Karlov, Kedvale, Keeler, Kildare, Kolin, Kostner, Kenneth, Kilbourn, Kolmar, Kenton, Knox, Kilpatrick, Keating), giving rise to the expression "K-town". These streets are found approximately in the 11th mile west of the Indiana state line, and so begin with the 11th letter of the alphabet. A mile later, just past Cicero (4800 W), the starting letter changes to L, and mile by mile the letters progress up to P. Additionally, for most of the first mile west of the Illinois/Indiana state line, streets are lettered from Avenue A at the state line (4100 E) to Avenue O (3430 E), forming the A group. The areas that might otherwise be the B through J groups are the older parts of the city where street names were already well established before this system was developed (although some small groups of streets seem to have been given names intended to conform to the system), and the Q group (8800 to 9600 W) would fall west of the city, as the only land in Chicago west of 8800 West is O'Hare International Airport, undeveloped forest preserve, and a small strip of land connecting O'Hare to the rest of the city and containing only Foster Avenue.
Some suburbs number their east–west streets in a continuation of the Chicago pattern, and even more number their houses according to the Chicago grid. A few suburbs also number their north–south avenues according to the Chicago grid, although such numbering vanished from Chicago itself long ago (the alphabetical naming scheme was devised to help eliminate it). For example, the 54th/Cermak terminus of the Pink Line is located near the intersection of 54th Avenue and Cermak Road (22nd Street) in Cicero. This is 54 blocks west of State Street in Chicago. A minor street 54+1⁄2 blocks west of State Street would be called 54th Court (in reality, that is Lotus Avenue in Chicago).
This pattern continues as far west as Plainfield, which has a 252nd Avenue, as far north as Skokie at Central Street (10100 North), and as far south as the southern edge of Will County. Suburbs that follow the Chicago numbering system include Niles, Rosemont, Morton Grove, Skokie, Lincolnwood, Franklin Park, River Grove, Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Oak Forest, Matteson, Channahon, unincorporated parts of Des Plaines, Glenview, and other parts of Cook County, Will, and DuPage Counties. Other suburbs, including Evanston, Park Ridge, Oak Park, Glenview and Wilmette use their own numbering systems. The six "collar" counties (DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will) use State and Madison as a base line. For example, 32W000 in DuPage County is 32 miles west of State Street, 38000 in Lake County would be 38 miles north of Madison Street, and is normally used without the direction letter. In these counties, unlike Chicago, numbering is 1,000 numbers to the mile, so in DuPage County 32+1⁄2 miles west is 32W500.
Some Chicago suburbs in adjoining Northwest Indiana also use the Chicago numbering system. These include East Chicago, Whiting, and Hammond. There are even examples further south in Lake County in Dyer and Schererville such as 205th Place through 215th Street (these examples coordinate with the Chicago grid, not the Gary street system). Other municipalities, such as Highland, and Griffith are based on the Gary, Indiana numbering system, beginning with 5th Avenue in Gary and increasing numerically as one travels southward. Examples in Scheider in the far south of Lake County, Indiana go as far down as 244th Avenue.
The aforementioned pattern also occurs in Waukegan, Illinois, with Washington Street being the baseline between north and south. Nearby municipalities such as Gurnee, Park City, and North Chicago continue with the Waukegan numbering pattern, while rural areas in Lake County, Illinois follow the Chicago grid.
|East-West Streets||North-South Streets|
|Mile||Address number||Street name||Route designation||Address number||Street name||Route designation|
|16||12800 W||Elmhurst Road; York Road; Madison Street; Bell Road
|CR 8 (DuPage) CR W18 (Cook)|
|15||12000 W||Mt. Prospect Road; County Line Road; Will-Cook Road
|14||11200 W||Wolf Road
|13+1⁄2||10800 W||Brainard Avenue; Willow Springs Road
|13||10400 W||Mannheim Road; Flavin Road
|US 12 / US 20 / US 45 / CR W25|
|12+1⁄2||10000 N||Old Orchard Road||10000 W||Scott Street; West Avenue
|12||9600 N||Golf Road||IL 58||9600 W||La Grange Road; Rose Street; 25th Avenue
|US 12 / US 20 / US 45|
|11+1⁄2||9200 N||Church Street||9200 W||Kean Avenue
|11||8800 N||Dempster Street||US 14 / IL 58||8800 W||East River Road
|10+1⁄2||8400 N||Main Street||8400 W||1st Avenue; Cumberland Avenue
|10||8000 N||Oakton Street||8000 W||Pacific Avenue; Roberts Road
|9+1⁄2||7600 N||Howard Street||7600 W||Oriole Avenue
|9||7200 N||Touhy Avenue||IL 72||7200 W||Harlem Avenue
|8+1⁄2||6800 N||Pratt Boulevard||6800 W||Oak Park Avenue
|8||6400 N||Devon Avenue||CR 6||6400 W||Narragansett Avenue; Ridgeland Avenue; Nagle Avenue
|7+1⁄2||6000 N||Peterson Avenue||6000 W||Austin Avenue
|7||5600 N||Bryn Mawr Avenue||5600 W||Central Avenue
|6+1⁄2||5200 N||Foster Avenue||5200 W||Laramie Avenue
|6||4800 N||Lawrence Avenue||4800 W||Cicero Avenue; Skokie Boulevard
|US 41 / IL 50 / IL 83|
|5+1⁄2||4400 N||Montrose Avenue||4400 W||Kostner Avenue
|5||4000 N||Irving Park Road||IL 19||4000 W||Pulaski Road; Crawford Avenue
|4+1⁄2||3600 N||Addison Street||3600 W||Central Park Avenue
|4||3200 N||Belmont Avenue||3200 W||Kedzie Avenue
|3+1⁄2||2800 N||Diversey Avenue
|2800 W||California Avenue
|3||2400 N||Fullerton Avenue
|2400 W||Western Avenue|
|2+1⁄2||2000 N||Armitage Avenue||2000 W||Damen Avenue
|2||1600 N||North Avenue
|IL 64||1600 W||Ashland Avenue
|1+1⁄2||1200 N||Division Street||1200 W||Racine Avenue
|1||800 N||Chicago Avenue||800 W||Halsted Street
|0||0 N/S||Madison Street||0 E/W||State Street
|1||1200 S||Roosevelt Road
|IL 38||800 E||Cottage Grove Avenue|
|2||2200 S||Cermak Road
|1600 E||Stony Island Avenue|
|3||3100 S||31st Street
(Oak Brook Road)
|CR 34||2400 E||Yates Avenue|
|4||3900 S||Pershing Road
|3200 E||Brandon Avenue|
|5||4700 S||47th Street||4000 E||Avenue C|
|6||5500 S||Garfield Boulevard
|7||6300 S||63rd Street||CR 38|
|8||7100 S||71st Street|
|9||7900 S||79th Street|
|10||8700 S||87th Street||CR B42 (Cook) CR 31 (DuPage)|
|11||9500 S||95th Street||US 12 / US 20|
|12||10300 S||103rd Street||CR B45|
|13||11100 S||Calumet Sag Road
|14||11900 S||119th Street|
|15||12700 S||127th Street||CR B50|
|16||13500 S||135th Street||CR B52|
|17||14300 S||143rd Street|
|18||14700 S||Sibley Boulevard
|19||15100 S||151st Street||CR W32|
|20||15900 S||159th Street
|US 6 / IL 7|
|21||16700 S||167th Street||CR B59|
|22||17500 S||175th Street|
|23||18300 S||183rd Street||CR B64|
|24||19100 S||191st Street|
|25||19900 S||Vollmer Road
|26||20300 S||Joe Orr Road
|27||23100 S||Steger Road
(No part of Golf Road, Dempster Street, Oakton Street, Wolf Road, LaGrange Road or 143rd Street to 231st Street actually lies within the boundaries of Chicago. These streets are included for reference, since they are a continuation of the Chicago mile street pattern into the suburbs.)
The density of main streets in downtown Chicago is greater than in the rest of the city, with some at half-block spacing (just 50 address numbers or one-sixteenth mile from the next parallel street), or block spacing between main streets, unlike the rest of the city where the main streets are spaced at half-mile and mile intervals:
The half-mile numbered streets on the South Side are all secondary streets: 35th, 43rd, 51st, 59th, etc.; all are numbered aside from Marquette Road, running at 6700 S, west from Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (400 E) to the city's western limit at Cicero Avenue (4800 W), near Midway International Airport. East of King to near Lake Michigan at 2400 E, it is called 67th Street, and Marquette is aligned one block to the north on what would be 66th Street.
(No part of Old Orchard Road, Church Street, or Main Street actually lies within the boundaries of Chicago. These streets are included for reference, since they are a continuation of the Chicago mile street pattern into the suburbs.)
A similar numbering system is also used in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The following streets run diagonally through Chicago's grid system on all or part of their courses. These streets tend to form major 5 or 6-way intersections. In many cases they were Indian trails, or were among the earliest streets established in the city. Diagonals are numbered as north–south or east–west streets. Examples are North Lincoln Avenue and Ogden Avenue, which bends at Madison and changes from North Ogden to West Ogden.
The city of Chicago proper contains seven major Interstate highways.
|Runs from O'Hare International Airport east and south to downtown Chicago. It interchanges with the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway and the Tri-State Tollway near Cumberland Avenue on the city's far northwest side (not far from its western terminus at O'Hare), with the Edens Expressway near Montrose Avenue on the city's near northwest side, and with the Dan Ryan and Eisenhower Expressways and with Ida B. Wells Drive at its southern terminus downtown at the Jane Byrne Interchange near the Chicago Loop. The portion from O'Hare to the interchange with the Jane Addams and the Tri-State Tollways is Interstate 190; the remainder is signed as Interstate 90. Interstate 94 is overlaid on Interstate 90 from the junction with the Edens south to the southern terminus of the expressway.|
|Jane Addams Memorial Tollway
|Runs from its complex interchange with the Kennedy Expressway and the Tri-State Tollway through the northwest suburbs towards Rockford and South Beloit.|
|Edens Expressway|| I-94
|Runs south from the Edens Spur (I-94)/Skokie Highway (US 41) near Northbrook to its interchange with the Kennedy Expressway near Montrose. The Edens Spur (formally a part of the Tri-State Tollway) splits off at the north end to interchange with the mainline Tri-State. All of the Edens and the Edens Spur is signed as Interstate 94; the 4-mile (6.4 km) northernmost section is signed as U.S. Route 41 from the Edens Spur to the Skokie Road exit in Wilmette. US 41 continues north as Skokie Highway beyond the northern terminus of the Edens.|
|Dan Ryan Expressway|| I-90
|Runs south from the Jane Byrne Interchange (where it interchanges with the Kennedy and Eisenhower Expressways and Ida B. Wells Drive) near the Chicago Loop to I-57/I-94 (Bishop Ford Freeway) in the Far Southeast Side in Chicago. In between, the Dan Ryan meets two separate interchanges: the Stevenson Expressway (Interstate 55) and the Chicago Skyway near 66th Street. The portion between the Jane Byrne Interchange and the junction with the Chicago Skyway is overlaid with Interstate 90. There are express and local lanes running from I-55 to 71st Street.|
IL 110 (CKC)
|Runs west from the Jane Byrne Interchange to an interchange with the Tri-State Tollway and the eastern terminus of the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway (Interstate 88) near Hillside, Illinois. Beyond west, I-290 turns northwest and becomes the "Eisenhower Extension". At the interchange with Interstate 90 near Schaumburg, it continues as Illinois Route 53 until eventually terminating at Lake Cook Road. East of the Jane Byrne Interchange, the route continues as Ida B. Wells Drive all the way to an intersection with Columbus Drive in Grant Park.|
|I-55||Runs southwest from Lake Shore Drive to the Tri-State Tollway/Joliet Road (former US 66). Along the way, the expressway interchanges with the Dan Ryan before heading to the south and southwestern neighborhoods of Chicago. The Stevenson then continues past Chicago Midway International Airport and out of Chicago. Continuing southwest beyond the Tri-State Tollway, I-55 then meets the Veterans Memorial Tollway, then heads southwest out of the Chicago area toward Joliet (where it intersects Interstate 80) and then into central Illinois.|
|Veterans Memorial Tollway
|Runs south from an interchange with Interstate 290 to Interstate 80 near New Lenox. Along the way, I-355 runs through the western suburbs to a complex interchange with Interstate 88 before continuing south to the redone interchange with Interstate 55, its former southern terminus. Then it continues south along 11 miles (18 km) of tollway that opened in 2007 to its southern terminus at Interstate 80.|
|Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway
IL 56 Toll
IL 110 (CKC)
|Runs from a complex interchange with the Eisenhower Expressway and the Tri-State Tollway west to U.S. Route 30 near Rock Falls. Along the way, the tollway meets another complex interchange with Interstate 355. Then it heads through the western suburbs into north-central Illinois.|
(Dan Ryan West Leg)
|I-57||Runs south from the junction of the Dan Ryan Expressway and Bishop Ford Freeway to the southern suburbs. Known originally as the "Dan Ryan West Leg", the name has since dropped from common usage and "I-57" is universally used for traffic reporting. As such, it is the only freeway within the city of Chicago lacking a formal name. A 20-mile segment, from Wentworth to Sauk Trail has been designated as the Tuskegee Airmen Memorial Trail but it is not a name to be used for navigation.|
|Bishop Ford Freeway
|I-94||Runs from the southern terminus of the Dan Ryan Expressway, heads east, then south through the Far Southeast Side in Chicago, and then Chicago's southern suburbs before meeting with the western end of the Kingery Expressway and the eastern end of the Tri-State Tollway. The freeway's southern terminus is where I-94 turns east via the Kingery. The road then continues further south into more south suburbs before downgrading to a surface highway and eventually terminating into Dixie Highway (Illinois Route 1) south of Crete, Illinois. The Bishop Ford Freeway north of the interchange with the Kingery Expressway is signed as Interstate 94; south of that point is signed as Illinois Route 394.|
| Chicago Skyway
|The Skyway angles off from the Dan Ryan Expressway near 66th Street and heads southeast toward Indiana. Whether or not the Skyway is part of Interstate 90 is a matter of some debate. The eastern end of the Skyway ends after a toll bridge over the Little Calumet River and (incidentally) the Indiana state line; on the other side of the state line, the Skyway ends at the western terminus of the Indiana Toll Road.|
|Serves as a toll bypass around Chicago as well as connecting the north suburbs. The tollway runs from a combination interchange with the Kingery Expressway and the Bishop Ford Freeway all the way towards an interchange with US 41. Although it bypasses Chicago, at one point, the tollway only enters a small portion of Chicago south of the interchange with the Kennedy Expressway and the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. North of the junction with the Edens Spur the Tri-State is signed as Interstate 94; south of this it is signed as Interstate 294, and the southern part of that is overlaid by Interstate 80 (which continues east past the eastern terminus of Interstate 294 as the Kingery Expressway and on into Indiana).|
|Kingery Expressway|| I-80
|Located entirely in Lansing, Illinois, this is a three-mile-long expressway running from the interchange with the Bishop Ford Freeway and the Tri-State Tollway to the Illinois/Indiana border.|
|Lake Shore Drive||US 41||A major limited-access highway running along the Lake Michigan shoreline from the intersection of Marquette Drive and Jeffery Drive in southern Chicago to the intersection of Hollywood Avenue and Sheridan Road in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood. For most of its length, Lake Shore Drive is signed as U.S. Route 41. Portions of Lake Shore Drive were constructed as a "true" expressway, with a few interchanges in addition to a number of at-grade intersections, especially near downtown. Nonetheless, "LSD" (as it is often referred to) is a major arterial with a great deal of cultural as well as transportation significance to Chicagoans.|
|Elgin Bypass||US 20||A five-mile freeway signed as U.S. Route 20, bypassing Elgin, Illinois. It goes west from the Villa Street interchange, then meets IL 25, then across Fox River, then meets State Street, McLean Boulevard, and Randall Road before continuing as an at-grade road.|
|Kingery Highway||IL 83||From Bensenville, the Kingery Highway (Illinois Route 83) heads south 18 miles to just south of the Des Plaines River-Sanitary Canal-Illinois and Michigan Canal corridor. It is a multi-lane divided limited-access road with portions grade-separated, the longest being 5 miles from 22nd Street in Oakbrook to 63rd Street in Willowbrook.|
|Amstutz Expressway||IL 137||A two-mile expressway located entirely in Waukegan, Illinois. It has only one exit at Grand Avenue.|
IL 390 Toll
|Formerly an unnumbered free expressway, it currently heads west from Illinois 83 in Bensenville through Itasca, Roselle, and Schaumburg until terminating at an interchange with U.S. Route 20. From 1993 to 2017, the expressway once ended at IL 53 in Itasca. Since 2016, the expressway became the first all-electronic tollway in Illinois, meaning the tollway only accepts I-Pass. A one-mile eastern extension to Interstate 490 is currently under construction.|
| US 12
|The two Routes enter through the southeastern part of the city from Indiana with U.S. Route 41, underneath the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge. At 95th Street, they head west to an intersection with U.S. Route 45 west of the city. There they go north on LaGrange Road to Lake Street, where US 20 turns northwest through Elgin to Iowa. US 12 and US 45 continue north past O'Hare Airport to Des Plaines, where US 12 turns on Rand Road and goes northwest, then north to Wisconsin.|
|US 14||The route splits off from U.S. Route 41 at Bryn Mawr Avenue by Lake Michigan on the north side of the city. US 14 then recrosses US 41 and eventually exits the city as Caldwell Avenue.|
|US 34||The route originally began downtown and ran west on Ogden Avenue and through the suburbs, continuing through Aurora and on to Iowa. In 1970 the beginning was moved west to Harlem Avenue (Illinois Route 43), where it intersected with US 66.|
|US 41||The route enters through the southeastern part of the city from Indiana with U.S. Route 12 and U.S. Route 20, underneath the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge. At 95th Street, when US 12 and US 20 turn west, it continues north along the lakefront, especially via Lake Shore Drive. US 41 then departs from Lake Shore Drive at Foster Avenue. From Foster Avenue, US 41 continues northwest on Lincoln Avenue, finally exiting Chicago at Devon Avenue into the suburb of Lincolnwood.|
|US 45||The route comes north from Kentucky and intersects U.S. Route 12 and U.S. Route 20 at 95th Street west of Chicago. The three routes go north on LaGrange Road, then US 12 and US 45 continue north on Mannheim Road past O'Hare Airport and into Des Plaines. Separating from US 12, it follows the Des Plaines River as Des Plaines River Road, then continues north on Milwaukee Avenue towards Wisconsin.|
| US 66
( Historic US 66)
|The route started downtown and followed Ogden Avenue west out of the city, then southwest to Joliet and on to St Louis. Status as a U.S. Route in Illinois was discontinued in 1974 largely due to Interstate 55 paralleling the stretch. Some remnants are signed as historic.|
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) [Skokie Street Map]