Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Cubs have agreed to a plan to increase security and prevent terrorist attacks at Wrigley Field, without closing down Clark and Addison during game times. You may recall that this was something of an issue earlier this year, and it sounds like now there’s a plan in place.
Here are the basic details:
The Goal: To better protect Wrigley Field (and its patrons) from terrorist attacks and/or bombings.
The Requirements: Become compliant with MLB’s new 100 ft security perimeter policy, while continuing to allow car traffic on Clark and Addison during game time.
The Plan: Widen the sidewalk on Addison Street (south of Wrigley Field) by four feet and install concrete barriers (a.k.a. bollards).
The Precedent: Other “soft targets” like O’Hare International Airport and other government buildings have used similar concrete bollards to ward off potential threats, in the past.
As you can probably guess, the original plan was to shut down traffic on Clark and Addison during game time to match the new security/safety requirements put forth by Major League Baseball. But Mayor Rahm Emanuel was not interested, as the area is already rather congested.
So, Addison will be widened by four feet and permanent concrete bollards will be installed. Until then, the concrete construction barricades already in place will remain there, as the Cubs and the City of Chicago determine how to build and pay for the permanent fortifications. The expectation, as of now, is that some combination of private (Cubs) and public dollars will be used. “It’s a public way,” Chicago Cubs spokesman Julian Green told the Chicago Tribune, “so obviously it will take some resources, not just from the Cubs.” Mayor Emanuel agrees, and is reportedly looking to receive federal funding for the project, given the nature of the request.
If you were wondering, Alderman Tom Tunney is also on board with the updated plan to install concrete bollards, because it avoids shutting down traffic on Clark and Addison. In fact, the compromise will allow two lanes of traffic in either direction, throughout game time.
Currently, there aren’t any plans to mirror this proposal on Clark street (Waveland and Sheffield are closed during game time, already), but the door is certainly open. Security, safety and piece of mind are ideas we may have once taken for granted, but now need to be constantly reexamined and reinforced.
There’s quite a bit more on this plan in the Tribune article if you’d like to check it out.