Google Erases West Loop Streets

Google Fails Chicago: Part Three in a Series.

We’ve lamented before the declining quality of Google Maps coverage of Chicago.  Even though there is a Google office in River North (at 20 West Kinzie Street), often Big G seems to have more interest in accurately mapping the moon than its own backyard.

The latest offense: The West Loop’s missing streets.

Google Maps missing Randolph and Madison Streets

For some reason, in certain versions of Google Maps, Madison Street west of the Chicago River is gone.  Vanished.  The only evidence that it ever existed are tiny patches of proto-road between Washington and Monroe Streets.  This goes on for miles and miles.

Google Maps with Randolph Street marked as "planned"Even worse is Randolph Street in the same area.  While clearly marked in maps of Chicago that we have from the 1800’s, according to today’s Google Maps, it doesn’t exist yet.  But it’s apparently coming soon, since it’s marked on the maps as “W Randolph St (planned).”

In some versions of Google Maps, Madison Street is also marked “planned.”

This isn’t a one-day fluke.  We first noticed this back in the spring.  The screenshots you see here were made in late July, and we just checked the maps again today, and they’re still wrong.

As noted in the title of this post, this isn’t the first problem we’ve noticed with Google Maps in Chicago.  See our previous coverage here:

Unfortunately, Google is notorious for its lack of customer service, and has no reliable method for reporting errors in its maps application, or any other part of Google.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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  1. I reported this on the web version (right click on location, “report a problem”). I’ve had luck in the past with getting errors reported and fixed.

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    • Editor

      You must have better luck than I have. I’ve reported about a dozen map errors to Google and none were ever fixed. One was a hotel that was spamming landmarks, and I got a fairly terse e-mail from Google saying the spams were OK because the owner of the hotel verified with them that they were correct. Ummm… yeah, Google. I really believe there is a bed and breakfast at the top of the leaning tower of Pisa. Good job.

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  2. There are sometimes problems with addresses along Howard Street, the border between Chicago & Evanston

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  3. Try Bing Maps. Microsoft pays extra $$$ for superior map data.

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    • Editor

      I’ve been using Bing maps more and more these days because of Google’s serious flaws. I don’t yet find Bing maps as pleasant or easy to use as Big G yet, but it certainly has come a long way in the last couple of years. If Google doesn’t get its act together, Bing is going to eat its lunch.

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  4. I live on Randolph in the West Loop and have seen this problem occur sporadically for about a year. Right now the web version is working for me, but the Android version was messed up. I went into the options and cleared the map cache and it corrected itself.

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  5. A week ago I reported, via the web version of google maps, that Kinzie, in front of Bloomer Chocolates was missing (because it was). I pointed out the existing street-view photos for that section. This week, Kinzie is back. The system works! ;)

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    • Editor

      Woo hoo! Maybe I’ll start reporting problems once again. Or maybe I’ll jus switch to Bing. Or maybe if we go back to paper maps the Rand McNally Store will reopen on Michigan Avenue!

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