BCB's David Sameshima visited Wrigley Field Friday, not only to document some construction work, but to take photos of the scene outside the ballpark.
There was a new setup on Sheffield Avenue today. It was actually a setup used previously during the construction. They have moved the construction fences back out, blocking more of Sheffield. This is due to them preparing to resurface Sheffield. I take this as a sign that Sheffield will be able to reopen soon.Unfortunately one minor change is creating major pedestrian backups on Sheffield. The construction fence is intruding into the entrance to the alley on Sheffield. As a result, the sidewalk narrows at this point. This is also backing up pedestrian traffic in the alley. There is a back entrance/exit to the CTA Red Line station in this alley. Pedestrians heading to the ballpark, using this path, are getting backed up in the alley. Previously, this was a very quick path from the train to Wrigley. Adding to this congestion is that guests to the rooftop buildings are lining up along this stretch. Some rooftops don't open until 30 minutes before the game. One rooftop line went down the alley.The visiting team buses and garbage trucks are parked along the side of Sheffield, making the former VIP gate inaccessible. Maybe it will be restored once Sheffield is repaved and then reopened.Festive bunting was hanging above the bleacher gate and along Waveland Avenue. There wasn't any bunting visible from Sheffield. I even spotted bunting hanging in front of Metro, down the street. There was a band playing 1990's rock songs just outside the bleacher gate. There was a longer than usual line at the bleacher gate. This was likely due to a promotional tank top giveaway. They were sized, as opposed to the usual shirt giveaways where there is just an extra large size. They had employees holding placards to designate lines for different sizes. Fans had to sort themselves and get into the appropriate line.On Waveland, I have previously seen Monterey Security staff assigned to patrolling the street. On Friday, Cubs employees, wearing the orange traffic/parking shirts, were along this stretch. Traffic along this stretch seemed to be more of an issue today, compared to my previous gameday visits.I did leave for a bit, but ended up returning later on and hung out with some of the ballhawks on Waveland. I was there when the game ended. I don't regularly see the Clark/Waveland side of the ballpark at the end of the game. To me, it did appear crazier than usual. Pedestrians did end up taking over Clark Street. The only other time I have seen this after a game, it has been when the Cubs clinched a division title.Adding to this mess was a medical emergency in front of the ballpark. A PACE bus was just pulling up when Engine 78 approached from the opposite direction. Two Chicago Police traffic cars were parked in the left turning lane, to prevent cars from making a left turn. This left the PACE bus blocked in. Eventually, once the medical situation was under control, the police were able to clear the street behind the bus. The bus was able to back up, so it could move around all the emergency vehicles.
While the bleacher construction project is complete now, except for some painting and other minor tweaks inside, there's still plenty going on outside Wrigley Field and of course, the rest of the Wrigley restoration project will continue all summer, into the offseason, and for at least the next three years. The Cubs expect everything to be finished by Opening Day 2019.
We'll continue to chronicle the entire project here.