Taking parking matters into your own hands

Opinion

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By J. Roy Burton, One view

Thank you for writing about small business concerns in Oak Park ("Is OP unfriendly to small business?" December 29). I own the Village Laundromat at 14 Chicago Ave. in Oak Park. I think that the official position of the Oak Park governmental bodies below the board level is that there are no small businesses in Oak Park between Ridgeland Avenue and Austin Boulevard.

For example, in July of 2003, signs were posted on all of the parkway trees on Chicago Ave between Ridgeland and Austin prohibiting all parking from Monday through Friday from August 1 and August 29. Four full weeks of no parking in front of the 100 or so businesses on the street. It seems that a contractor needed to put the final seal coat on the resurfacing which had already been done, and he apparently wasn't sure what day he was going to do it, so he told the village "sometime in August" so they closed the entire street for the entire month.

I hand carried a letter to the Village Manager's office which was never responded to. Fortunately, the village doesn't really care about what goes on in our end of town so I was able to remove all of the signs and leave them in an appropriate place without anyone from the village noticing or caring. Parking continued as usual.

The day arrived for the sealing of the asphalt without a problem since the crew arrived at 6 a.m. one Thursday in late August and was able to seal the entire stretch of Chicago Avenue in one day. There is no overnight parking on Chicago Avenue and no one was inconvenienced, parkers, businesses or sealers alike.

I received a letter from the Village Manager in September thanking me for my patience and blissfully insisting that the traffic division makes every effort to minimize the inconvenience to citizens and businesses alike when work is done on the village streets.

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