City Hall turns thumbs down on closing Clark, Addison for Cubs games

The Cubs’ idea of closing Clark and Addison streets to automobiles on game days is a non-starter, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.

Cubs business President Crane Kenney floated the idea at the Cubs Convention last weekend of shutting down the main thoroughfares to allow the team to create a 100-foot security perimeter around Wrigley Field.

But mayoral spokeswoman Kelley Quinn shot down the idea, which would exponentially worsen already brutal traffic problems in congested Wrigleyville when the Cubs play.

“Of course we are not going to close Clark and Addison,” Quinn said in an email. “Safety and security are everyone’s top concern, and we will work with the community, Ald. (Tom) Tunney and the Cubs to achieve that without having to shut down two major roads in a neighborhood.”

A Cubs spokesman did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment on Quinn’s statement.

Kenney said the team began considering tighter security around the historic stadium after the November Paris terrorist attacks. Starting this season, fans entering the park will have to pass through metal detectors.

Waveland and Sheffield avenues, the other two streets that abut Wrigley Field, already are closed to cars when the team plays so that fans can mill about. Those are side streets, while Clark and Addison are key roads for moving traffic through the area.

A City Hall source said the Cubs have not made a formal request to the mayor’s office for the street closures. Kenney’s come at a time of heightened tension in the always-fraught relationship between the Cubs and people living near Wrigley Field.

The team has been granted more night games and summer concerts as Cubs owners the Ricketts family try to squeeze more revenue out of the ballpark. A new sound system that accompanied video boards installed in the bleachers last season angered some people living in Wrigleyville who said they could hear music and the public address announcer from blocks away.

And the planned team-owned outdoor plaza on Clark Street west of the stadium has drawn the ire of some nearby residents who worry they will be forced to contend with what amounts to a big beer garden at the spot.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>