Officials hope change to lakefront parking will reduce overnight crime

New parking restrictions along the North Side lakefront will go into effect this weekend after a mass shooting last week at a popular lakefront event space.

The shooting is part of a trend, according to police, in which people involved in violence come to the lakefront after the park is closed and park here on Cannon Drive.

Crowds gathered at the Theater on the Lake for the venue's latest showing Friday, but it was just a week earlier it became the site of a seven-person, overnight mass shooting.

En route to the evening showing after noting newly implemented parking restrictions, Monica Payne wonders if city officials have the right target.

"I don't know if telling people they can't park in the park is going to solve that problem," Payne said.
The restrictions were announced by Alderman Michele Smith (43rd).

There will be no parking along a stretch of Cannon Drive between Fullerton and Diversey from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.

There have been other problems with crime in the area also, including a break-in on a boat docked at Diversey Harbor.

Two video cameras captured a man on board, rifling around before the boat's owner says he left without taking anything.

"If they think parking has to do with crime, I don't think parking has to do with crime. As it is, they're already charging an arm and a leg for parking in some of these areas," one resident said.

In a ward newsletter, Ald. Smith writes the shooting "is part of a disturbing pattern"  of people coming to the lakefront long after the park is closed and parking on Cannon Drive.

"It makes sense," Sue Ebert said. "If you want to keep people out late at night when the trouble starts, then that's how you start."

The alderman says the restrictions will be run as a pilot for the weekend.

It will be evaluated after this weekend for its effectiveness and whether any changes need to be made.