Ohio Street Underpass To Be Locked Overnight Without City Council Order

CHICAGO (CBS) — The East Ohio Street underpass at Lake Shore Drive will be locked in the overnight hours, starting Wednesday night.

The underpass locking comes weeks after a young woman was killed nearby.

It is happening without City Council action as originally proposed.

After first proposing an ordinance to do this, downtown Alderman Brendan Reilly said, in fact, a City Council order is not needed, and a Streets and Sanitation employee will lock the East Ohio Street underpass at Lake Shore Drive every night during the summer.

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“The Loop ops work 24-hours a day, so there is someone who patrols that area for Streets and Sanitation that can simply lock the gates so this won’t result in overtime costs or anything like that,” Reilly said.

A young woman was killed near that underpass on Father’s Day.

South Side Alderman Anthony Beale had called the order an overreaction and a double standard, something that would not happen if the murder occurred in a black or brown neighborhood. He said one did not even need council action to close the passageway overnight.

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“If the gate is there, the gate is there,” Ald. Beale said. “If you need new locks, go to Home Depot and get you some new locks. I don’t think you need an order to go to Home Depot.”

Reilly found the criticism off base.

“Each alderman has a responsibility to do everything within their control, within their power to keep residents safe,” Reilly said. “That’s all I am doing here.”

But he is having the gate locked without a vote.

“I introduced the order to make sure it got the attention that it deserved, and it did,” he said. “As a result a lot of conversations took place here at City Hall and we were able to resolve this.”

The East Ohio Street underpass will be locked every day from midnight to 5 a.m. throughout the summer. Reilly said they will revisit the underpass in the fall to see if any changes are needed.

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