Obama's Coming Tonight, Expect Delays All Weekend

Presidential visit plus holiday weekend will equal headaches

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    President Obama exits his motorcade while still president elect.

    President Obama and his family will land in Chicago around 8:15 p.m. Thursday for a weekend vacation.

    While it’s great to have the president home for a visit, what does it mean for Chicagoans? Long lines, traffic congestion and difficult travel.

    Just harken back to late 2008 when Barack Obama was working out of Chicago as the president-elect.

    Police routinely shut down roads to make way for the Obama’s to get from point A to point B. And anyone who took the police escort and black SUVs casually learned their lesson the hard way. 

    On November 16, 2008 as the presidential motorcade worked its way down Van Buren Street after Obama had visited FBI headquarters, a tan sedan attempted to go around the trail of cars, according to a pool report at the time. 

    "An SUV cut the car off immediately, and the security team aimed their weapons at the car," the pool report said.

    Lesson: plan for delays, follow the rules and pull over to the side when you see sirens.

    It’s not just road travel that will be affected. Air travel will likely suffer as well.

    Air Force One gets priority at O’Hare Airport and no other aircraft can land or take off while the plane -- or Marine One, the president’s helicopter -- is landing or taking off. The president will make at least two trips in and out of the airport – Thursday lands, Friday flies to the Gulf and back, flies out on Monday. The FAA says delays shouldn't be more than 15 minutes.

    Lesson: Sit tight, you'll get where you're going.

    Culture seekers will likely run into some delays as well. 

    The White House hasn’t released an official holiday schedule for the president but rumor has it the president plans on attending a Blackhawks game with Mayor Daley on Monday, and that he might take in a play at the Goodman Theater with his wife. 

    Think security was tight at those venues before? A Goodman spokeswoman -- who hasn't seen any Secret Service lurking -- said she imagines there would be a few delays IF the president were to show up.

    "If he does show up, we'll comply with any security demands from the Secret Service," said Denise Schneider, publicity director for the Goodman.

    Lesson: Wait patiently in line lest you be singled out by Secret Service

    Just be prepared for delays and it should be a splendid Memorial Day weekend with temps in the 80s. Just don’t get anxious about moving around too quickly. 

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