NATO parking bans in effect in South Loop

May 15, 2012 2:23:06 PM PDT
Finding a parking spot in the South Loop just got harder. A weeklong parking ban went into effect Tuesday at 6 a.m.

The restrictions, which were implemented to coincide with the NATO Summit, which runs May 20 and 21 at nearby McCormick Place.

A complete list of the restrictions is available here.

City tow trucks wasted no time. The signs read 6 a.m. and that is exactly when the towing began in a perimeter close to McCormick Place. Some residents say they were not told in their NATO neighborhood meetings that the parking restrictions would start as early as Tuesday, May 15.

"I would have appreciated to have a bit of a longer notice but I feel good. I'll be in a neighborhood that is safe... They did say we'll be in one of the safest neighborhoods in the world," Angela Thomas, resident, said.

With so many world leaders coming a block away to McCormick Place, some residents say safety comes with a price for those who live so close to the action.

"Somebody just dropped the ball and didn't think about what they're going to do with residents. I mean, it's like a situation where they want the international spotlight, but at the cost of the citizens," Jonathan Sidell, resident, said.

The weeklong parking ban in the South Loop neighborhood includes streets like Cermak, King Drive, Prairie and Indiana. Some say NATO organizers should make up for the inconvenience and provide residents with parking lots.

"What they essentially did was said, 'Get your car off the street,' and it's good luck trying to find parking anywhere near here. And because there's already limited parking in our neighborhood, all those spots are quickly filled up," Tina Feldstein, resident, said.

Residents who live in the Chess Lofts say parking bans are not the only inconvenience. They say the Secret Service has closed the building's roof and an ID will be needed to get in and out of the neighborhood.

"Some people are leaving; the majority are staying because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so mayhem or not, we want to see what is going to go on," Angela Thomas, resident, said.

"It is going to be an inconvenience, but I understand the necessary security measures that it takes, so just try to deal with it as best I can and leave town for the weekend when the madness is supposed to start," Mark Miller, resident, said.

Dog walker Joan Vandermueln says she has five clients in this neighborhood and plans to get here --even if it means taking public transportation or parking several blocks away,

"It's business as usual. Dogs have to do their business," Joan Vandermuelen, dog walker, said.

The parking ban remains in effect until Tuesday, May 22.


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