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CHICAGO (CBS) – Parking restrictions and other security measures for the NATO summit next Sunday have already started going into effect.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports on the preparations for the summit at McCormick Place, which kicks off in less than a week.
We’re starting to see signs of just what it’ll be like a week from now. On Sunday, officials had already posted signs informing motorists Lake Shore Drive would be shut down between 39th Street and Balbo Avenue for three days next weekend. So will several other parts of the lakefront.
The Locke family was picnicking Sunday on the grass along the lakefront, in the shadow of McCormick Place – something they won’t be able to do next Sunday, when the NATO summit is in town.
No one knows yet exactly where along the lakefront fences and barricades will be set up during the summit, but contracts have been awarded for them.
The first parking restrictions are already in effect on Sunday, along Indiana Avenue outside McCormick Place West, which is now bare of parked cars.
Early Tuesday morning, the parking ban will expand from a single street to several square blocks west of McCormick Place, and remain in effect until after all the delegates leave.
Other parking restrictions will include the Loop, across from Daley Plaza, where complexes like Block 37 have closed entrances, and covered some of their windows, as have other businesses.
Next Monday will be anything but a normal workday.
“We’re taking some security measures and actually, I’m working from home that day,” Marian Richardson said.
Chicagoans are, to put it mildly, somewhat concerned about the summit. Even NATO, in a video on its website, acknowledges that, stating “there’s interest, enthusiasm, and anxiety as the summit approaches.”
“It’s more a pain in the butt,” one man said.
“I just don’t see anything positive coming out of that,” Lapellia Williams said.
Others – like the Locke family – have mixed emotions.
“I know it’s gonna be good for the economy, all the hotels and stuff like that. I just hope the security issue is not the same as it was in Seattle. They had a bad problem out there,” Al Locke said.
NATO’s video tried to calm those fears.
“The main advice is: don’t panic. The security services have been working for some time on the coordination of the event,” the NATO video’s narrator says. “The Chicago police force has been trained to deal with demonstrators.”
It’s unclear how much comfort that long-distance assurance will be to Chicagoans, who seem to be collectively holding their breath, despite the success of local authorities in dealing with previous protests staged in Chicago, leading up to the summit.