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Emanuel: Closing North Ave. Beach "The Right Thing to Do."

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 31, 2011 9:00PM

AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato

Mayor Emanuel said today that police who cleared North Avenue Beach so paramedics and firefighters could tend to people who complained of heat-related illness "took the appropriate steps" to contain a situation that could have become harder to manage.

"Think about the opposite, if they didn't take those steps," he said. "There would be a different set of questions here, a whole set of other questions."

The mayor also said an "after action" report, similar to the one released last week about the city's response to the Blizzaster, will be conducted for this event.

While the initial reports focused on the people who complained about the heat, the more dangerous aspect of yesterday was the crowding on the beach. Visitors to the beach and a bartender at Castaways Bar and Grill said they had never seen the beach that packed before, and people were still streaming toward North Avenue Beach like tortoises heading to sea when police gave the order to clear the beach. Which makes this post as good an opportunity as any to share the Chicago Park District's list of swimming beaches, so that North Avenue and Oak Street Beaches aren't constantly clogged.

It's a big ass lakefront, people. Use it.