Summit parking restrictions set to begin

May 12, 2012 8:12:01 PM PDT
With the NATO Summit a week away, parking restrictions go into effect Sunday morning around McCormick Place.

Saturday nurses and students got together to protest about the meeting of world leaders in Chicago beginning next Sunday.

From protests and parking challenges to anticipated positive coverage by reporters from around the world, there's a busy week ahead.

As the saying goes, the show must go on and Saturday night, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra treated concert-goers to an evening of Haydn and Mozart one week early.

The event, originally slated for next Saturday, was one of four concerts the CSO rescheduled because of the NATO Summit.

"I think they did the right thing changing it to today," said CSO patron Karen Burke. "It's easier for the patrons to come down on a day with less traffic."

"I don't think we were going to come," Tom Burke said. "So we're glad that they did change the venue."

Starting Sunday, getting around the South Loop will start to get more complicated.

Starting at 6 a.m., parking will not be allowed on either side of S. Indiana between Cermak and 24th Pl.

More parking restrictions will be added on Tuesday, followed by several road closures starting next Saturday.

"I'm expecting it to be a nightmare," said South Loop resident Andy Burnham. "I really think it's going to be very difficult to get around."

The NATO host committee recommends using public transportation, but South Loop resident Imri Brown says her sales job requires her to drive.

"Just really getting into my mind that I've got to have some sort of strategy on simply coming home and then allotting additional time because there's going to be traffic," Brown said.

The two-day event will shine an international spotlight on Chicago, but Saturday, those planning to demonstrate against NATO held their own summit to highlight what they say is NATO'S war against the innocent.

"Please try to turn out your friends, your relatives, your families, your whole block," said Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Non-Violence. "And tell people that this is a chance to assert sanity in the face of the madness of war dead."

At a youth sports tournament held in recognition of the upcoming summit Saturday, the mayor was upbeat.

"We have a great police department and a great city," Emanuel said. "We'll be ready."

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