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CHICAGO (CBS)–The weekend commuters have been dreading has arrived.
Lake Shore Drive from Balbo south to 39th was slated to be shut down at midnight Friday – and remain shut down into Monday.
CBS 2’s Mike Parker talked with South Side residents who will be affected by the NATO-related restrictions.
Dozens of Chicago Streets and Sanitation plows were ready Friday to close down the Drive. Drivers in Hyde Park who use the lakefront artery every day were singing the blues about the expected congestion and extra time it will take to get around the city.
“I’m going to roll with the punches,” motorist Travis McDowell told Parker.
Other closures over the weekend: the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium.
Starting at midnight, Metra will impose greater security measures on trains that include no backpacks or food and drink – and possible searches and slow-downs.
“I think all the precautions are necessary. Unfortunately, they’ve turned Chicago into a ghost town,” Metra rider Robert O’Brien told Parker.
Indeed, parts of downtown couldn’t have been quieter Friday, CBS 2′s Dana Kozlov reports.
In fact, the Millennium Park garage never looked so empty. A security guard was on alert at a desolate Harold Washington Library. Dearborn Avenue was eerily empty at lunchtime.
A South Loop shop owner wondered if business would pick up this particular afternoon.
It was not business as usual in Chicago, and not everybody was ready for that.
Many businesses and offices closed for the NATO summit weekend, like the German consulate and the secretary of state’s office in the Loop.
Barricades were up where usually there are none. Besides some quiet streets, a couple were packed, full of plows ready to mobilize and block part of Lake Shore Drive.
But not everyone was on edge. Loop rare coin dealer Harlan Berk was welcoming anyone and everyone, in a sign posted in his shop’s window.
“This is America. Everything should be open,” he said.