Chicago prepares for baseball home openers; White Sox begin home season on Monday, Cubs on Friday

March 28, 2014 (CHICAGO)

It may not feel like it but it's time to play ball in Chicago. And city and team officials stress heightened law enforcement will be the norm around both U.S. Cellular Field and Wrigley Field, including MLB-mandated spectator screenings and zero tolerance for drinking in the public way.

"We will have increased visibility, but we will also have officers that you won't visibly see be able to see," said CPD Commander Eli Bulgaris.

"We are asking people to, number one respect the community, respect the people that live there, don't litter don't drink on the public way you will be held accountable for your actions," said 11th Ward Alderman James Balcer.

Post-game patrols especially at Wrigley will extend to three hours after weekend games, and two hours during the week, part of a new entertainment district patrol negotiated as part of the approval for the Wrigley Field renovation project.

"There had been a habitual complaint that one hour after the game the traffic control aid dissipates, and so does the police," said 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney. "The entertainment section is still going on."

And North Side fans will have to contend with that renovation all year.

"I anticipate by mid-season there will be some, not road closures but curb restrictions, and most of the construction will be contained to the interior of the site," Tunney said.

To reduce traffic, the Cubs are encouraging drivers to park at a new free remote lot located at 3900 North Rockwell at Irving Park, and take free shuttles to the "Friendly Confines," available two hours before and after games.

"Hopefully we'll have a great season for both teams," said Balcer.

"And we will end with a World Series in Chicago," said Tunney.

"Yes, with the Sox winning of course," Balcer added.

That remote parking lot is just over two miles west of the stadium. The shuttle should take about 10 minutes one way, depending on traffic. The lot will hold 1,000 parking places.

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