Almost 11 months after they were closed for the bleacher reconstruction, Waveland and Sheffield Avenues adjacent to the ballpark have reopened. BCB's David Sameshima had a look at what the new streets are like:
I visited on Sunday afternoon. It was extremely quiet around the ballpark. Besides the lack of activity at the ballpark, the neighborhood was very quiet. Very few people on the street, and extremely light vehicle traffic. Very eerie. I took the opportunity to take some nice photos of the scene around the ballpark, as I expected that these would be the last moments with the construction fences on Sheffield and Waveland. It was apparent that both streets would be reopening in the next day or two.I returned on Monday to see that I was correct. When I arrived, I saw two Midwest Fence company trucks pulling away from the ballpark. I saw that Sheffield was wide open. On the Waveland side, the street was mostly open. I say that since there were still fences along the Waveland Avenue curb. In addition, there were temporary one way signs on Waveland. It was one way eastbound traffic. There are lane markings for two way traffic on Waveland, so this is only temporary, possibly to accommodate work crews as the last of the fences still need to be dismantled.I also took some photos to illustrate how much narrower Sheffield Avenue now is outside the ballpark. It was already an issue while I was there. There was a private event being held inside the ballpark. I believe that it was a party for sponsors. I did see various sponsor logos being displayed on the video boards. There was a private ambulance parked on Sheffield. Later a rental truck also parked on Sheffield Avenue, getting ready to pack up supplies brought in for the event. At one point, a livery driver double parked on Sheffield as well. Traffic had to swing around to get by. I saw a small van about to swing around the rental truck. It had to tuck back in, as there was an oncoming car that could not be seen, due to the rental truck blocking the view. Remember to pass with care.At the former Captain Morgan Club, there was a work crew that had just completed replacing all the awnings there. All the signage there now has the new Fantasy Draft Kings Sports Zone logos.The plaza building construction is now well under way. The structure now extends along Waveland, almost to the groundskeeper's cottage.I should also talk about the sidewalks. The sidewalks are much narrower on both streets. The Waveland sidewalk is narrower than the one on Sheffield. My quess is that the Sheffield sidewalk is 10-12 feet wide, and that the Waveland sidewalk is 6-8 feet wide. I hope I am close on these estimates. The overhang of the bleachers almost covers both sidewalks.It will now be interesting on how the Cubs will arrange things outside, on game days. With the closed streets, the Cubs had the luxury of having space to park certain required vehicles outside the ballpark. Now, where will the visiting team bus, stand by ambulances and garbage trucks park? Will group charter buses be allowed to drop off, and pick up, on either street?
As has been the case for the last several years, Waveland and Sheffield will probably be closed on game days. In the past, the closure has been made around the time the gates open; it remains to be seen how early they'll close off the newly-paved streets. One thing the re-opened streets will do, even when closed off for game days, is make it much easier for people to exit the bleachers. While the streets were closed for construction, fans exiting the bleachers had to go out through the main gate at Waveland & Sheffield, or at the corners in left and right field. Now, there will be more exit gates that will let people out onto the sidewalk (see photo 34 for a good example of this). That will make things far less crowded after games.
Also, I imagine that Cubs security will now have people line up for the bleachers along the Waveland and Sheffield outer walls, as has been the case in the past. While the streets were closed, the bleacher lines went straight back from the main entrance, at times into the Waveland/Sheffield intersection. Since that intersection is now open to traffic, lining up there wouldn't really work.
The Captain Morgan signage shown on photos 22 and 24 is likely staying there, as Captain Morgan still has naming rights to the bar inside the new "Sports Zone," according to a Cubs press release.
Interesting note about photo 29, where you can just make out "AMERICAN" and "NATIONAL" on the scoreboard where the Cubs score is normally shown -- that's left over from the Under Armour All-America game on Saturday.
David's planning on stopping by to check this all out sometime later this afternoon so we should have more photos here tomorrow.