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'Loud Music, Liquor Containers': New Pedestrian Bridge Causing Problems For Bronzeville Residents

CHICAGO (CBS)-- People smoking, hanging out and blasting music late at night is what a residential neighborhood in Bronzeville has put up with throughout the summer.

A new bridge was supposed to provide easy access to the lake, but neighbors say it's caused nothing but problems.

Now they're hoping the city can fix the problems.

"It's like the best neighborhood," said resident Joe Starnes.

That's why he wants to put this to an end.

One of his neighbors sent CBS 2 cell phone videos of people loitering and playing loud music on the block in June and July.

"Loud music, liquor containers, smoking marijuana, right by a park where kids play," said Starnes. "We don't want that element. We don't want that bringing down our property values."

Starnes and his neighbors said a major contributor is the pedestrian bridge completed early this year.

They said it's a great resource but the unwanted visitors often park on their block and then use the bridge to walk back and forth from the lakefront.

They often wind up hanging out on their street or the park at the corner.

"I think we need to get permit parking," Starnes said.

Ald. Sophia King has introduced three ordinances in an effort to help the problem. One would prohibit parking on one side of the street, another would create a seasonal permit parking zone during the warmer months, and another would adjust traffic flow in the area. All three are expected to be reviewed by council committees this month.

A spokesperson for King's office said in email Tuesday "we have also met with the Commander of the 2nd District several times to discuss this specific issue."

"Recently we've had a little bit of a more police presence in the neighborhood and I've made sure to tell them that were happy to have them."

Blair, who lives on the block, forwarded CBS 2 an email she sent alderman Sophia King in 2017, at the start of the bridge's construction.

Blair told the alderman the bridge could make public parking spaces harder to find and Blair specifically asked for permit parking.

King's ordinance for permit parking on the block from April to November was introduced on July 24 of this year.

It has not passed yet, but residents hope it will.

They're also hoping the problems will cool down with the weather.

"It's frustrating because it could have been prevented or at least circumvented a little bit and it was not," Blair said.

The alderman's office said they didn't propose the changes before the bridge's construction because they had to wait to see how the bridge would impact the neighborhood.

King did not make herself available for an interview with CBS 2, but a spokesperson sent an email late Tuesday afternoon outlining their plans and efforts and acknowledging that "some residents may be frustrated with the timeline."

"While we can always speculate on how infrastructure enhancements may impact the greater area, we cannot be certain until said enhancements are complete, and functioning in their desired purpose," the email said.

The email also said King and her staff had personally visited the area at night to better understand the issues.

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