I am deeply saddened by the Oak Park village board’s decision to open up the one block of Marion Street that is currently closed to auto traffic. One of Oak Park’s strongest features is its resistance to the car-focused orientation of other suburbs. I don’t understand why the board voted against the recommendations of its own transportation committee and decided to lessen the uniqueness of this wonderful town by removing such a wonderful space. The village should be looking for ways to make the downtown more pedestrian-centered and appealing by adding play areas, fountains, etc. If I wanted to live in Schaumburg, I would move to Schaumburg!
Oh, and the proposal to keep a “pedestrian-friendly” feel by keeping wide sidewalks is clearly bait-and-switch. Next time you are on the Marion street pedestrian mall, picture two-way traffic, parking on both sides of the street, plus wide sidewalks, and you will quickly see that it is simply not possible. I strongly urge my Oak Park neighbors to speak out against this ill-considered proposal and urge the board to reverse this decision and adopt a more progressive environment- and community-friendly vision for the downtown.