No person has the right to use the public sidewalk or parkway as a driveway without first obtaining a use of public way permit authorized by the Commissioner of Transportation.
The permit ensures that the section of the public way being used as a driveway is insured and that the City of Chicago, its officers, employees or agents are listed on the policy as an additional insured.
For commercial properties, the required amount is $1,000,000. Having the City listed does not incur any cost to the applicant or affect the cost of the policy.
Many applicants are made aware of the need for a driveway permit when applying for a building permit at the Department of Buildings. Proof of a permit is necessary for the issuance of a building permit.
Commercial applicants must submit an application along with the following documentation:
- Completed application
- Five copies of a dimensioned site plan, drawn to scale. Plan must show entire site and all proposed and existing driveways (all existing driveways to be removed must be noted and shown on the site plan).
- Three photographs of each driveway showing curb and sidewalk area.
- Certificate of insurance (property owner’s) with a combined single limit in the amount of $1,000,000. The City of Chicago its officers, employees or agents must be listed as additionally insured in respect to each driveway approach at the property location.
- Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Social Security Number and Permanent Index Number (PIN) for the property.
Commercial (Class B) application fees:
Application Fees: 25 feet or less in width measured at the widest point-$100.00. Greater than 25 feet in width add an additional $2.00 per foot.
Important note: The permit fee for each driveway within the Central Business District (area as defined in section 9-4-010 of the code) is twice the amount listed above.
Requirement if your driveway leads to an alley:
- All commercial business or residential apartment building or condominium complex with a parking lot or garage that can be accessed through the alley (if the capacity at that lot or garage is in excess of five spaces) must get approval from their alderman, who will then prepare an alley access ordinance to introduce to City Council for passage.
- Proof of an alley access ordinance is necessary for the issuance of a building permit.
- In the event the ordinance is denied, a barrier (either steel guard rail or fence) must be erected. Proof of this is required on the site plans dimensioned and drawn to scale.
All commercial and proposed residential driveway applications must be signed by the Zoning Department (obtained at Room 905, City Hall.)
If an applicant is proposing a new driveway, the applicant should expect to wait at least 30 days for issuance. The proposed driveway process requires approval from the Zoning Department and approved field inspections from the Bureau of Electricity, Bureau of Forestry, Department of Water Management and the Department of Transportation. The application needs approval from the Alderman of the ward in which the property falls within. If the alderman does not reply to the application within 20 days, aldermanic approval is granted by default.
The driveway permit shall serve as an approved permit for driveway use only. A driveway construction permit must be obtained by a licensed sidewalk contractor before the driveway can be constructed. The driveway permit must be presented by the licensed contractor to the Department of Transportation.
The Office of Emergency and Communications (OEMC) is responsible for issuing driveway construction permits. A driveway permit is valid for one year from the date of issuance for installation. Driveway permits are not transferable from owner to owner (see below)
Penalties: Failure to comply will result in a fine of not less than $50 for each offense. The City of Chicago also has the option to restrict access to driveways which fail to comply.
Driveway permits are non-transferable from owner to owner. A driveway permit must be obtained in the current property owner’s name. Tenants with a 10-year lease can apply in their own name.
All applicants must apply in person. Applications are available from:
Chicago Department of Transportation
121 N. LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60602
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information contact: 312.744.9148.
See also: Residential Driveway Permits