Residents of the 500 blocks of South Euclid, Wesley and Clarence avenues asked that cul-de-sacs be installed at Euclid and Wesley and a traffic diverter installed on Clarence at a village board meeting last week.
Their bid stemmed from a cul-de-sac petition submitted by Euclid residents up for board approval. A cul-de-sac was envisioned for Wesley as part of a business retention agreement with Foley-Rice Cadillac, 711 Madison St. The dealership has begun a renovation process that will help it expand its repair business.
But the board voted 4-3 to deny the petition and follow a staff recommendation to test the effects of cul-de-sacs and diverters on the streets.
On the assumption that a cul-de-sac will push more traffic onto a neighboring street, residents said the issue was pitting blocks against one another.
“Cul-de-sacs do that,” said Parking and Traffic Commission chair Steven Ginsburg.
The village will test diverters and cul-de-sacs in two-month intervals, alone and in pairs, on the blocks. Completion of the Foley-Rice renovation project isn’t expected until late next summer, Village Engineer Jim Budrick said.
The board turned down another cul-de-sac bid on the 1200 block of North Lombard Avenue with a unanimous vote.
Paul and Joyce Porter, who live two blocks south at 1026 N. Mapleton Ave., spoke against the cul-de-sac.
“I don’t like to see Oak Park becoming a land of cul-de-sacs,” Paul Porter said. “If people want cul-de-sacs they should move out to the land beyond Schaumburg.”
Village staff members said they were working with the North Avenue Fresh Market, 6209 North Ave., to keep delivery trucks out of residents’ way.
Alcuin escapes parking restrictions
The board spent approximately 75 minutes considering a petition to add parking restrictions to the 400 block of North Euclid Avenue before voting unanimously to defeat it.
The situation was “a bit odd, frankly,” said Parking and Traffic Commission chair Steven Ginsburg, because the petition for “No Parking 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday Aug. 15-June 15” on the west side of the street had little testimony when it was before the commission.
The petition was peculiar also because it was brought primarily by Unity Church of Oak Park. The church’s frontage?#34;or the space it takes up along the street?#34;is large enough for it to be the sole petitioner, as residents representing 51 percent of a street’s frontage are required to bring a parking restriction petition. The church takes up 58 percent of its side of the block.
At issue was parents of Alcuin Montessori School, housed within First United Methodist Church at the corner of Oak Park Avenue and Superior Street, parking along Euclid in the morning to walk their children into school.
Petitioners said that created safety hazards, something village staff and police agreed with.
But residents of the block railed against the proposed restrictions. One pinned the impetus for the petition on a longtime feud between the school and its neighbors.
“It is a fight between [school neighbors on another block] and the Montessori School…one more step in an antagonistic relationship we want no part of,” said Mark Burkland, 431 N. Euclid Ave., who said he spoke for the other three families who live on the block. In testimony from the committee hearing, those families submitted similar opinions against the restrictions.
“In part, this is a solution seeking a problem,” said Trustee Ray Johnson, adding that he visited the site and understood the police’s position on safety.
“On the other hand, it is up to the parents to make that risk, if there is one, and not everyone agrees that there is.”
The school and others argued that the restrictions might force parents to park on Oak Park Avenue, and that crossing that street with their children would be less safe than walking down the residential blocks as they do now.
Village President David Pope said approving the restrictions could endanger parking at the more than a dozen churches that house schools or daycares “to satisfy a few select residents.”
Restrictions changed on 100 S. Kenilworth
The board voted 6-1 to change parking regulations on the 100 block of South Kenilworth Avenue. The existing “No Parking 8 a.m.-10 a.m.” restriction on the east side of the street will be replaced with “2-hour Parking 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday thru Friday,” and a “No Parking Anytime” restriction will be added to the west side of the street.
Residents of the block petitioned for the restrictions.
Trustee Ray Johnson cast the dissenting vote. During discussion, he asked Parking and Traffic Commission chair Steven Ginsburg how removing parked cars from one side of the street would reduce speeds on Kenilworth.
Ginsburg replied that it wouldn’t, but that it would reduce the potential for accidents because there would be fewer cars.