Minutes to Circle

If you’ve ever driven from O’Hare into the heart of Chicago, you have surely seen the electric signs that say things like “24 minutes to circle via Kennedy.” I’ve always thought that was bizarre at best, since I am aware of the Loop in Chicago, but not anything known as “the circle.” Can anybody shed light on this? Is it just a huge mistake, possibly by highway workers who don’t know the city, like when I once had to call 911 and the dispatcher didn’t believe that Lake Shore Drive is in Chicago? [Yes, that really happened – she insisted I must somehow be calling from Indiana. She also did not recognize as a Chicago landmark the term “I-55.”]





2 responses to “Minutes to Circle”

  1. Ed Avatar

    Mark just pointed out this site as the answer. Thanks, Mark!

  2. Rich Meliska Avatar
    Rich Meliska

    You happen to share a name with a client anf former trust officer here in the Chicago area.

    The “Circle” that you noticed on the traffic sign refers to the Circle Interchange. This is the intersection of 3 major expressways in the downtown Chicago area. The Kennedy, Eisenhower and Dan Ryan all meet at that point. I-55 or the Stevenson also intersects near that location. The ramps, entrances and merges all form what is perhaps a huge CIRCLE, or perhaps people feel like they are going around in circles when they are trying to get ffrom one expresway to another.

    Additionally, the University of Illinois Chicago capmus is in the area and referred to as UofI Circle campus. I don’t know which came first, the chicken or the egg (or the road or the campus), but the area is usually one giant scrambled egg of a mess!

    I qualify all of this as my opinion as a life long Chicago resident. Perhaps I am starting a piece of urban folklore, but it does all make sense.

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