Gallagher Way Wrigley Field
Gallagher Way outside of Wrigley Field. (Photo/Maeve O'Donovan)

Congestion, Construction and the Home of the Chicago Cubs

By Anna Rubino and Maeve O’Donovan

Posted: Friday, July 27, 2018

Home to the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs, Wrigleyville is also home to many small businesses that thrive off of their community and tourists.

One of the main struggles within the community, other than the Cubs' World Series drought, is congestion in the area, especially between Clark and Addison streets on game days.

The baseball stadium is meant to be a town square to bring everyone together, but with congestion has some community members saying they want to stay away.

“I have concerns for bikes and pedestrians because with high traffic volumes they tend to be ignored and at higher risk,” said Wrigleville resident Ryan Chapman.

360-degree view: Clark and Addison

Home games cause havoc on the people trying to make it from one place to another, as well as those from the neighborhood trying to get home from work. Night games bring traffic into the neighborhood at rush hour, while day games have traffic leaving during that same time.

“The commute is definitely effected negatively by the high volume of people” said Julia Wheeler, who lives a few blocks from Wrigley Field.

Not only is the commute troublesome for Chicagoans who live around Clark and Addison, it is also a problem for businesses as well. Joe Mann, owner of the Pick Me Up Café, said that when the Cubs are in town, “there is a change in demographic, and we will stay busy and have an influx in sales and hour or so before a game.”

Cubs Owner and CEO Tom Ricketts said from the outset that he wanted to make changes in the Wrigleyville neighborhood to benefit from the Cubs recent popularity and battle the issue of congestion throughout the streets.

Wrigleyville is a popular Chicago neighborhood, and when the Cubs are at home, traffic increases and roads around the ballpark are shut down. But the Cubs saw the chance to expand the area, and they took their opportunity to grow business and try to fix the congestion problem.

Niel Cooper, an employee at Yesterday’s Gift Shop, said that congestion has and will always be an issue.

“Cubs games are good for us. Of course, there is traffic and people congestion, but that comes with this territory” he said.

Wrigleyville constantly welcomes millions of Cubs fans and tourists looking to see the wonders of Chicago, but without a new landscape and layout of the area, no one could truly enjoy what the town has to offer.

With Ricketts’s plan in action to expand the area and add new restaurants and business such as Hotel Zachary, construction soon took Wriggleyville by storm.

Chapman, a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago who lives in the Wrigleyville area, said, “I have noticed more traffic due to expansion of business largely because of all the construction that is occurring because of it.”

One of the new additions that is home for a few nights for fans attending a Cubs game, tourists experiencing the area, and employees that Chicago brought here for business, is the new hotel, Hotel Zachary. When asked to comment on the hotels rise in traffic and congestion throughout the area, they declined the chance to comment.

Before/after: Photos of Wrigley Field during construction

Since the start of construction, many believed the area still has not improved. “I haven’t noticed a change in congestion” Wheeler said.

Cooper added, “It really is what it is. The area has a lot of amenities and is creating even more new amenities such as restaurants to serve the area.”

Hotel Zachary Chicago

Hotel Zachary across Clark Street from Wrigley Field. (Photo/Maeve O'Donovan)

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