What does it take to get a cul-de-sac approved around here?

Opinion

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Paul Zimmerman, One View

I am a resident of the 500 block of South Euclid Avenue, writing on behalf of all the residents. At the Sept. 6 village board meeting, the board, by a vote of 4-3, upheld the recommendations of the Parking and Traffic Commission to deny our block's petition for a cul-de-sac on the north end of the street just south of the alley. With 25 children living on the block, 17 of which are under the age of 10 and one special-needs child who is autistic, we feel this cul-de-sac is a necessity and are 100% in support of this petition.

Our reasons for submitting this petition are twofold: First, the expansion of the Foley-Rice Cadillac dealership at the end of our block?#34;owner, Terry Rice, fully backs our petition, and is on the record as stating "I want what the neighborhood wants." Second, the current and potential traffic in our neighborhood in light of the explosive development scheduled on the Madison Street corridor, from drivers who are avoiding the now common rush-hour traffic jams at the intersection of Oak Park and Madison.

As part of the dealership expansion plans, the block directly east of ours, Wesley Avenue, which for many years has been dealing with the same issues we have?#34;namely, customer and test-drive traffic speeding down streets and through alleys, serviced vehicles parked on our blocks, and delivery trucks and tow trucks blocking traffic?#34;is scheduled to receive a cul-de-sac, which we absolutely support without hesitation. Also included in the plans, all service traffic and approximately half of the dealership's customers will exit onto the 500 block of Euclid at the alley.

Although increased traffic is something that most of us in the village are dealing with these days, we feel that we are in a unique position. Since the relocation of Shepherd Volvo to Harlem Avenue, this is the only residential neighborhood in the village that is adjacent to an automobile dealership?#34;a dealership which, through construction and expansion, is going to be increasing its sales and service business, adding more traffic to our streets. Does this not constitute a major disruption and introduce a dangerous traffic situation to our neighborhood?

We are also just south of Madison Street, a major thoroughfare which is attracting more and more traffic. Moreover, there are several condo and townhome developments in various stages of planning that will be located on this thoroughfare, including a 6-story condo building on the southwest corner of Oak Park and Madison, a 4-5-story condo/townhome building on the south side of Madison between Grove and Carpenter, and two other sites on Madison within four blocks of our neighborhood, not to mention various other developments just off of Madison. Then there is the northeast corner of Madison and Oak Park, which is owned by the village and currently being leased to Foley-Rice as a parking lot during their expansion. This block will no doubt be developed by the village or sold by the village to a developer, either of which will most certainly include retail space.

All of these developments will add traffic to our residential side streets with drivers bypassing the increasingly busy main arteries, especially during rush hours when children are either out walking to school or burning off playful energy from a long day at school.

So in light of the fact that Foley-Rice supports the cul-de-sac and there is 100 percent support from the neighborhood, what is the problem with our petition? In making their judgments, both the board and the commission cited a 1990 report from the village which states its blanket opposition to cul-de-sacs. Isn't it possible that this report is outdated? The board's and commission's reflexive reactions are misguided, sidestepping the uniqueness of our particular situation?#34;the only OP residential neighborhood that sits cheek to jowl with a dramatically expanding automobile dealership and an explosively developing thoroughfare which shows no sign of slowing anytime soon.

Must we wait until there is an accident to have this problem addressed? If the village is against cul-de-sacs, why are there cul-de-sacs all over the village? I'm not begrudging these other diverters, and in fact they all serve a purpose: to stop potentially dangerous traffic from traveling through a residential neighborhood. That's all we want: to divert traffic to the main arteries, thereby protecting our children and keeping our neighborhood a safe place to live for now and for the future.

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