Security is becoming a bigger issue at sports stadiums around the country. MLB teams were required to use magnetometers to check all fans entering starting last year. Wrigley Field was exempted from that due to the construction project, but this season the Cubs will have all fans go through security screenings before entering.
A debate about the efficacy of such screenings is beyond the focus of this article; what I'm more interested in is the Cubs' proposal to close down Clark & Addison adjacent to the park during Wrigley Field events:
In a move to extend the security perimeter around the stadium, the Cubs say they are in advanced talks with the city about limiting traffic on both streets to city vehicles and buses during all events at the park. The push, the team said, comes from a Major League Baseball security recommendation for ballparks to maintain at least a 100-foot perimeter of control in every direction. As part of that plan, the team also wants to extend the sidewalks adjacent to Addison and Clark by eight to 10 feet into the streets to try to prevent pedestrian traffic from spilling into the public way. "We've asked for the city's support to extend the perimeter of our ballpark in every direction," Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said today at the Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago. "It will require rerouting traffic—probably not bus traffic, which the city controls—but it's the right thing to do."
Waveland and Sheffield Avenues, adjacent to the bleachers, are already closed during games and have been for quite some time -- at least 15 years, to my recollection, and perhaps even before that, as I also recall tons of people on those streets during games during the home-run chase of 1998.
Closing Clark & Addison would cause quite a bit of traffic disruption, given that they are both major through streets. Right now, Waveland & Sheffield close to traffic about two hours before game time and don't open up again until about an hour after the game ends. That might work out all right, but there certainly would be a ripple effect on traffic on other nearby main streets, particularly on days of night games, when the "two hours before" coincides with rush hour.
This was probably the biggest bit of news noted in the business management session at the Cubs Convention on Saturday. Other than that, most of the news was already known: the Cubs' new clubhouse will be ready for Opening Day, but the new plaza and west entrance to the park (which, once open, will help alleviate congestion on entry to the park) won't be done until later in the year or early 2017.