ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Chicago Drivers Guide to Rideshare Street Smarts: Quirky Roads/ Wacker Drive

Updated on June 21, 2022
justthemessenger profile image

I drive people to their destinations as I drive towards my destiny.

Wacker Drive north/south branch
Wacker Drive north/south branch | Source

Wacky Wacker

Wacker Drive is a street of contrast. Traffic can move north/south on one wing of the street and east/west on the other. Wacker is only about two miles long. Yet, it crosses with at least 15 other streets and is within a block of 18 bridges that span the Chicago River.

Wacker with all its connections rest entirely within the Loop. Whereas some thoroughfares have a frontage road, it has a frontage walk; Riverside Plaza. And, most notably, it’s a multi-level roadway.

River Road

Wacker Drive travels in all four directions as it follows the Chicago River’s course around the Loop. The river route enables it to intersect with both north/south flowing and east/west streaming streets. The Wacker/river nexus makes it among the best streets for traveling to city center locations.

Wacker’s north/south section leads to uber busy transit depots Union Station and Ogilvie Transportation Center. I have also taken it en route to the passenger prodigious Presidential Towers complex. The Willis Tower leads a double digit dose contingent of high rider pickup points drop off destinations along Wacker’s north/south bank.

Wacker’s east/west bank host the London House and at least five other fairly frequented high rider housing (apt/condo/hotel) buildings. The same stretch has led me to a glut of voracious volume visited places that are near but not on Wacker Drive that include River North’s Merchandise Mart and Streeterville’s Mag Mile.

Wacker Drive east/west branch
Wacker Drive east/west branch | Source

Rider Street Smarts Tip

“All aboard”

Remember, shared rides are rideshares’ version of the bus. Via’s default option and Uber Pool work this way. The clock literally starts when the driver arrives at the pickup spot. Both driver apps actually have a visual of a ticking clock! The driver is free to leave without you when the clock runs out. So, if you’re still on the elevator in the skyscraper that you work in as the driver arrives, you may miss out and still pay something. Be there on time. Happy riding!

Highlight on the Hood- The New East Side


Wacker Drive’s east/west tract between Michigan Ave and Lake Shore Drive forms the north border to the neighborhood within the Loop community, the New East Side. Michigan Ave, Lake Shore Drive, and Randolph Street are its west, east and south borders respectively.

Big rideshare revenue gifts come from small rideshare regional packages. The Loop’s east side doesn’t extend more than four city blocks in any direction. Yet, it rains down ripe rider business.

The trendy but tiny area contain 10 residential buildings (apt/condo/hotel) that has provided me with multiple trips. Three among these are Wacker Drive addresses. The ‘east’ also host tall buildings that draw tall traffic. The Prudential Building, Aon and Blue Cross/Blue Shield are the busiest among these.

The upper echelon enclave consist of multi-level streets, ramps, twist and turns that enable it to provide so much in so little space. I was already familiar with the area before my rideshare gig. So this didn't pose a problem. I would advise drivers who haven’t been here to do a dry run. This is a unique place with distinct dimensions. But, it’s well worth learning for what it has to offer.

Quirk Street Cred

View of Streeterville from Lower Wacker
View of Streeterville from Lower Wacker | Source

Lower Level-Higher Speed

I learned of sub-street level Chicago during a previous driving life. The city’s main auto pound lies beneath the New East Side’s trendy exterior. I know because city contracted vandals hijacked my car twice. That’s too much headache for a side job.

I soon learned the lower drive provided safe havens for delivery cars in the form of building docks. The docks became my preferred choice to park whenever possible. The same docks enable efficient movement of goods to Wacker’s varied sites by relieving the upper level of congestion. As a result, Lower Wacker helps to speed up Upper Wacker traffic flow.

Lower Wacker Drive is not immune to traffic jams. Still, it typically allows drivers to move faster than the Loop streets above it. Moreover, it provides access to the Eisenhower I-290, Kennedy I-90, DuSable Lake Shore Drive (Rt.41) and other express routes.

I have taken advantage of this quirk’s perks. I’ve often bypassed evening rush hour Loop traffic. This includes trips taking riders to DuSable Lake Shore Drive en route to north side areas, south side destinations, the United Center and more. The Union Station transit depot is the high rider destination the lower drive has helped lead me to the most.

DuSable Bridge in background
DuSable Bridge in background | Source

Low Level-High Preparation

Quirky can be good. However, not all quirks are created equal. The same subterranean vibe that allows short cut and speedy access interferes with cell phone performance.

The map apps are inapt when traveling the lower depths of Chicago Streets. For example, the app has at times directed me to turn onto State Street (among others) while on Lower Wacker drive. However, State Street doesn’t have a lower level. So how would I turn on to it? I don’t. I can’t.

Practice makes perfect. I suggest drivers take a dry run (or two or a dozen) before you carry passengers here. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Ave and Columbus Drive also have sub main street levels that drivers should learn. I can’t repeat it enough: the app is not your friend when driving the lower ends.

Wacker is a unique street that uniquely contributes to driving within the city. It does this for all drivers but is especially valuable to rideshare drivers who dare tread into the city’s center. It is eccentric and quirky good.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2019 James C Moore


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)