Chicago Sidewalk Accessibility

The majority of Chicago’s sidewalks are well cared for, smooth and even.  Due to the harsh winters, some sidewalks will show cracks or contain rough segments.  The better cared for streets and sidewalks are located in the city center, downtown and business districts.  Curb cuts are present at all intersections.

Accessible sidewalk in Chicago

Some intersections are elevated and will require pedestrians to climb stairways to access the elevated cross street.  Wheelchair users will need to travel an additional one to two blocks in order to access the elevated cross street.  There constitute a small number of these intersections and do not affect the city’s overall accessibility.

Wheelchair users will encounter hilly or steep terrain in certain parts of the city, particularly leading to/from the Lake Michigan waterfront.  The areas in the center of the city’s downtown district are largely flat and easy to navigate.

Sidewalks and streets are regularly plowed and de-iced in the event of snow, but as with winter weather in any destination, wheelchair users may have difficulty navigating areas where snowfall has accumulated.  In the aftermath of snow fall, the city’s public works department is very good at clearing sidewalks so that they are passable by wheelchair users.  Curb cuts are also cleared.  The city’s bus service and elevated rail systems usually remain operational in the event of snowfall.