1917 map of the West Park and Boulevard system. Highlighted in yellow is Jackson Boulevard, shown running west from the Chicago River through Garfield and Columbus Parks. Chicago's Boulevards were the grand carriageways that connected the various urban parks together. Three main districts were responsible for the parks within the city, and all three were autonomous governmental bodies accountable to the State General Assembly, not to the city government. East of the Chicago River to its terminous at Grant Park, Jackson Boulevard was under the jurisdiction of the South Park Commission, as was Michigan Boulevard.
The boulevard system became the preferred routes for through auto traffic in the early 20th century, since the boulevards were generally wider than other city thoroughfares, and also were not encumbered with streetcar lines. Boulevard traffic rarely encountered a 4-way stop sign, and commercial vehicles were prohibited unless making a local delivery.

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