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.
“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.
“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.