District 90 presents a new plan for parking at Roosevelt Middle School in River Forest

Earlier proposals nixed by village board, third option in the works

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River Forest Public School District 90 is looking down new avenues as it plans for increased future parking capacity at Roosevelt Middle School.

Administrators at the district are currently finalizing a campus renovation plan for Roosevelt, 7560 Oak Ave., which they hope to begin later this year.

Expected to cost up to $1.6 million, the project includes lighting, landscaping and signage improvements outside of Roosevelt, as well as the re-purposing of some vehicle parking areas on the west and north sides of the building, which houses classrooms for grades 5 through 8. The changes would result in a loss of 31 parking spaces at the school.

Last month, the district went before the River Forest village board with a proposal for a new parking layout that sought to compensate their parking losses by installing a row of angled spots along the southern side of Oak Avenue, which borders the south end of the school, and turning the throughway into a permanent one-way heading west. The street currently operates as a two-way street during off-school hours.

The board reviewed and rejected both the angled parking and one-way proposal, forcing the district to go back to the drawing board.

Anthony Cozzi, director of finance and facilities for D90, said the district did not hear a clear resident consensus on the plan.

"There were some residents who hated the 45 and 60 degree spaces, and some who loved these options," he said.

At a community meeting last week, representatives from the district confirmed that the angled parking and one-way proposal was being dropped, and new plans were being formulated to address the parking vacuum at Roosevelt.

The designs, still in draft form, envision 31 on-street, permitted spots assigned to the west side of Jackson Avenue and on three blocks of Oak Avenue between Ashland and Monroe avenues.

Cozzi said the idea — which had been added to the district's presentation at the last minute — had been well received by neighbors at the Feb. 27 meeting.

"We kind of worked the numbers quickly," he said, noting that the plan will need some fine tuning before another parking proposal is brought back to the village board for approval.

The new proposal was largely inspired by Daniel Lauber, an attorney and planning consultant who has kept an eye on the parking dilemma at Roosevelt.

Lauber recently submitted a plan to the district that suggests on-street parking as an alternative to constructing angled spots (which would have cost $190,000) outside of the school as part of the overall renovation.

In addition to indicating the spots on Oak and Jackson, Lauber's plan offered the possibility of creating an additional 22 spots by extending parking along Oak as far as Franklin Avenue to the west and Williams Avenue to the east.

The beauty of the plan, Lauber said, was both its flexibility and frugality.

"It's not expensive to move permit-only signs if a specific location doesn't work out," he said.

In addition to rerouting parking around the school, Lauber said the district should also commit to requiring its faculty and staff to using only the permitted spaces.

"The residents are being asked to give up a fair amount of possible parking spaces for themselves and guests — so it's only fair that school staff use only the permit-only spaces," he said.

D90 serves 1,350 students, kindergarten through eighth grade, at three schools in River Forest.

Reader Comments

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RF Achievement  

Posted: March 12th, 2013 7:07 AM

Plans shelved for at least a year. Yes, lets get his off the plate until after the election - that is what Rigas and Gibbs wanted. They were and are feeling the heat.

D90 parent  

Posted: March 8th, 2013 7:50 PM

The plans have been shelved. Those who have been opposed to the plan should view traffic patterns @ Roosevelt at dismissal time & on Saturday ams when the park district has bball games. The reconfiguration of the parking lots is bc of safety for pedestrians & provide short term parking for visitors @ the school. Also allowed is a sidewalk to the Library from Jackson.The plans also provide more bike racks & address the muddy runoff issue Jackson that students & neighbors deal with.

tim from rf  

Posted: March 7th, 2013 9:05 PM

Leave it the way it is. Has worked for how many years - just fine. Stop looking for ways too waste our money. Education yes- not 2 million of wasted green space. Speaking of walking. Teachers should have to wal as well - further to their cars!

Kay from River Forest  

Posted: March 7th, 2013 3:26 PM

While it is true that the Roosevelt "Campus" does not have loads of green space, the school uses the very large, green RF Park District park for PE and for recess. There is also an under-utilized outdoor seating area on Oak/Circle Drive with trees and plantings nearby. Our communal space should serve the people; I believe that Roosevelt students do have access to green space and the community needs access to parking.

Julie from River Forest  

Posted: March 7th, 2013 10:37 AM

The trees to be cut down will be cut down by the Village if D90 doesn't do. They are diseased. I am in support of D90 and think they have been very clear about the plans. There are 600 students in the school and if we can make it safer and add green space I am all for it. 50% of Roosevelt's schoolyard is covered in parking. That is ridiculous. People need to learn to put their own agendas aside once and awhile. They also need to learn to walk.

RF Resident from River Forest  

Posted: March 7th, 2013 10:25 AM

This is the heart of our Village. Everyone inside and outside RMS will be affected by the proposed changes. Roosevelt School, the RF Library, the RF Park District and every other RF resident. In my opinion, more information and conversations need to take place before this plan moves ahead. $1.6M project and very few people are aware of the plans. Please hold off and have more dialogue with all the community stakeholders!

RF Achievement  

Posted: March 6th, 2013 9:21 PM

This shows what is wrong with local govermental entites. The Boards do NOT ask enough tough questions. This proposal thing shoujld have Never gotten this far. Oh, please tell us D90 - How much of OUR money did you spend with the planning consultant and the pretty drawings. I mean really, could anyone on the Board not come up with a simple permit plan - before they ok'd the creation of all these drawings and proposals (Which included cutting down Trees)?

Kay from River Forest  

Posted: March 6th, 2013 11:40 AM

District 90 needs to present yet another plan for the Roosevelt renovation. The plan's net loss of parking in order to beautify and relandscape and add signs is too expensive and inherently unfair to the community who utilize the area to access Roosevelt School, the RF Library, and the RF Park District fields.

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