The first step in the planned renovation of Wrigley Field is under way.
Crews shut down Sheffield Avenue between Addison and Waveland Wednesday -- one day ahead of schedule -- and began work on the first phase of the project.
Trees and bricks along the street are being pulled up so utility companies can begin relocating gas and sewer lines. Once this phase is done, construction will also begin on parking lots surrounding the stadium. The construction will stop two hours before the start of games or events at the stadium.
After the season is over, work will being on the bleachers inside the stadium, with completion scheduled by 2015 Opening Day.
According to a letter the Cubs sent to area residents, current parking lanes on Waveland and Sheffield will be removed and the team will offer free parking on non-event days in the Green Lot at 1126 W. Grace. Residents in the area bordered by Addison on the South, Racine/Clark to the West, Irving Park on the North and Wilton on the East can fill out a neighbor parking application at 3721 N. Clark and receive a sticker to allow Green Lot access.
But some area residents are wary of the additional traffic problems the closures will bring.
"You have cars going by trying to cut off and trying to go around, and it's just really inconvenient for pedestrians and also kind of dangerous," said Joan Duron, who works nearby.
The Cubs plan to pump $500 million into renovations at Wrigley Field over the next four years. In addition to new lighting and several signs in the outfield, the improvements will include an expanded players clubhouse underneath the parking lot on Clark Street.
"I think it's good for the Cubs. It's gonna make them more competitive, I hope," Cubs fan Charlie Thayer said.
The threat of lawsuits still hangs over the renovation project. Earlier this month, the owners of eight Wrigleyville rooftop businesses sued the City of Chicago over the decision to approve the Wrigley Field plan.
The lawsuit claims the city broke it's own rules in its decision to approve the plan, and deprived the rooftop owners of their property rights without due process.