Congratulations to the village board for proposing that Oak Park consider allowing cars to be parked on residential streets 24 hours a day. Yes, the overnight parking ban has been around for 77 years. And yes, many people will be peeved by the change.

But as Trustee Robert Milstein remarked, “Sacred cows make good hamburgers.” In the spirit of progress, I propose a few other changes:

1) If we were honest with ourselves, we would admit that Unity Temple isn’t all that attractive, particularly on the outside. It also faces costly renovations and sits on a prime piece of downtown real estate. Preservationists will howl, but I propose razing the structure and putting in a surface parking lot. Local businesses would gain, and profits from the lot could boost the village board’s “rainy day” fund.

2) Granted, the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio is much better looking than Unity Temple. But of all the sacred cows in Oak Park, the FLW home is the most sacred. It’s probably time for it to go.

3) Let’s face it, Hemingway never liked Oak Park. We should cut ties with the old man. With additional street parking, we can turn the Hemingway Museum, his birthplace and his boyhood homes into dozens of upscale condos.

4) We should lobby the City of Chicago to close the Green and Blue line stations in Oak Park. As our village moves more toward a car culture, we will have less need for public transportation. Plus, the move will likely attract media attention and remind the public that we are a destination community.

5) No doubt about it: the Lake Theatre has been loved by generations. But if we tear it down, we could widen Lake Street and install the one thing that makes a community thrive: angle parking.

6) Finally, we should consider changing the name of our town. The name “Oak Park” seems to emphasize the “Oak” rather than the “Park.” If we drop the “Oak” from the name, there will be no confusion about what we stand for as a community.

Sam Roe
Oak Park

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