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Street Musician Crackdown Compromise In Works, Alderman Says

By Heather Cherone | March 28, 2017 1:47pm | Updated on March 29, 2017 11:40am
 Preyas Roy, 32, has been playing the vibraphone on Michigan Avenue for three years.
Preyas Roy, 32, has been playing the vibraphone on Michigan Avenue for three years. "Music in public makes public a fun place to be," he said.
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DNAinfo/David Matthews

DOWNTOWN — Efforts are underway to craft a compromise that would allow street musicians to continue to play along Michigan Avenue and State Street but reduce the racket irking some Downtown residents, a Downtown alderman said Tuesday.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said he was working with lawyers for street musicians as well as Downtown residents to work out a compromise after an effort to ban the musicians on Michigan Avenue and State Street faltered in the face of opposition — including a legal threat from the Illinois chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Reilly declined to discuss the specifics of the proposal Tuesday, saying they were still being hashed out with the help of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Office. The mayor is a fan of the musicians, his office said last month.

The original proposal — which was endorsed by a City Council committee — would have banned street musicians on Michigan Avenue from Cedar Street to Balbo Avenue and State Street between Jackson Boulevard and Huron Street.

But the ACLU said a ban would violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

The crackdown would essentially target any street performer louder than a mime. Performers who "emit noise that is audible to a person with normal hearing more than 20 feet away" would be barred.

If the measure had been adopted, the city likely would have been sued, according to a letter from the ACLU.

Street musicians already are barred from the streets near the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park or Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park while official performances are underway.

Reilly had suggested that the CTA allow more street musicians in "L" stations.


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