Ohio Street underpass to be closed after number of violent incidents

FOX 32 NEWS - A busy entrance to Chicago’s lakefront will be closed after a number of violent incidents along the lake.

The Ohio Street underpass will be closed starting Wednesday night. It’s one of a few different ways people use to get to the lakefront. During some summer hours, they'll have to find a different way to get there.

As city alderman came together Wednesday morning, some expected to take up a contentious issue. The city council's finance committee was set to vote on a proposal by 42nd Ward Alderman Brendan Reilly that would see access to the Ohio Street underpass restricted. But before that discussion happened, Reilly reached a deal with the mayor seeing the gates closed during warm weather months between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m.

“If this is one step closer to achieving a safer neighborhood than I think it's a good idea,” said Paula Malhotra who lives nearby.

The move is a reaction to a shooting that happened earlier this month in the 500 block of East Ohio as a 25-year-old woman stood nearby with a friend. It was an unexpected shooting in the quiet Streeterville neighborhood, leading Reilly at the time to say closing the underpass would help police.

“By making these changes early on in the summer season before the huge crowd volumes arrive, that's the smart way to go,” Alderman Reilly said.

The mayor’s office confirmed the move in a statement saying partnerships on "serious public safety concerns" are welcome.

“I think it's a good call. Just because we're not out at those hours doesn't mean we don't have friends or family members that are,” Malhotra said.

But tonight FOX 32 found mixed reviews.

“Just because a very infrequent incident occurs doesn't mean you should shut something down. It could happen any time of day,” said Mark Daugherty who uses the Ohio Street underpass.

Reilly has also said he will be using discretionary money budgeted to his office to add real time police surveillance cameras.

Police presence in the area has already been beefed up.

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