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Visitors to State Street set foot traffic records

Posted  3 years ago  by  Kiana DiStasi

4 MIN READ – In July, pedestrian visitors to State Street in the Loop surpassed 1 million per week for the first time since the pandemic’s impact. Since July 2020, Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) has released monthly reports on downtown activity using a variety of data sources to track operations during COVID-19, and today released its July report, including data from the new popular event series, Sundays on State, for the first time. The report on downtown activity shows Sundays on State foot traffic exceeding 2019 levels. View the full July report here.

Some highlights include:

  • Pedestrian visitors to State Street in the Loop surpassed 1 million per week for the first time since the pandemic’s impact. Week ending Aug. 1 saw 1,371,570 visitors; week ending July 25 saw 1,005,284 visitors; week ending July 18 saw 1,021,343 visitors; and week ending July 11 saw 1,004,227 visitors.
  • July 18 Sundays on State pedestrian visitors (11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on State Street from Lake to Madison) exceeded the same Sunday in 2019 (103 percent of visitors), comparing the same timeframe and street geography. During the July 11 event, pedestrians reached 91 percent of 2019 counts despite rain all day. And during the July 25 event, pedestrians reached 94 percent of 2019 levels despite high temperatures and humidity.
  • Visitors to the Sundays on State event area ranged from 62,000 to over 70,000 per event for the first three events in July.
  • Pedestrian activity on State Street overall in July hit its highest levels since before the pandemic, increasing to 66 percent of 2019 levels in the last week of the month. In addition to Sundays on State, Lollapalooza also contributed to higher pedestrian counts.
  • At 36 percent of normal, Chicagoland’s office human occupancy leads the nation, along with Texas and the Philadelphia metro area.
  • Parking garages increased service operations to 61 percent of 2019 levels in July, and digital parking bookings for the first time recorded week-over-week volumes of over 100 percent of 2019 levels to end July. Digital parking bookings indicate one-off visits to the Loop moreso than commuter traffic.
  • Preliminary CTA data suggests that ridership dropped slightly compared to June’s 45 percent peak, but data for the majority of the month was unavailable at the time of this report’s publication—including during Sundays on State and Lollapalooza.
  • Hotel occupancy in June dipped slightly to 37 percent, but is expected to show increases for July with the return of major events like the Chicago Auto Show and Lollapalooza. This data is always provided one month behind.

“We are pleased to see, through our pedestrian data and attendee surveys, that all of our goals for Sundays on State are being met,” said Chicago Loop Alliance President and CEO Michael Edwards. “We hoped this event would accelerate the economic recovery of the Loop, unite the community and create joy, and it is proving to do just that and more.”

According to hundreds of survey responses from these July events, Sundays on State attendees:

  • are of all ages
  • come from over 12 states and over 150 unique zip codes, including every neighborhood in Chicago
  • 71 percent visited a Loop business before, after or during the event, spending an average of $213
  • 82 percent of attendees would refer a friend to the event
  • 65 percent say the event positively impacted their feelings about the Loop

In addition to events in July, Chicago Loop Alliance hosted Sundays on State on Aug. 8, with four more Sundays to go in the series—Aug. 22 and 29 and Sept. 5 and 12 (no event on Aug. 15). Sundays on State sees Chicago’s most iconic street, State Street, closed to traffic from Lake to Madison for a free, interactive block party featuring art, culture, active recreation, shopping, food, drinks and local attractions. Learn more and sign up to attend at LoopChicago.com/SundaysOnState.

For those Loop workers who continue to return downtown, Chicago Loop Alliance has created a Back to Work Toolkit that can be found at LoopChicago.com/BackToWork. The toolkit includes insider tips for working downtown in the Loop for those who never left, as well as those who are returning for the first time. Find useful information on how to safely get downtown; what’s new in the Loop; what the Loop looks like these days; lunch and happy hour spots; and more.

Chicago Loop Alliance invites people to share their experiences downtown on social media using #BackInTheLoop.

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