I was interested to read the article about the abundance of newspaper boxes on public sidewalks in Oak Park [Beauty and the box, News, Jan. 10]. I think the Public Works Department may need to take a stroll around Oak Park, since the very restrictions listed in the article-size, construction material, and public access-are violated in at least three locations.

On the northwest corner of Oak Park and Lake Street, where there are around 15 boxes (see picture from original article), many are constructed of plastic, a violation according to the article.

On the northeast corner of Oak Park and South Boulevard, not only are many of the boxes made of plastic but a pedestrian must negotiate a sidewalk maze to access the Green Line.

And my personal favorite, the 15 or so newspaper boxes on Oak Park Avenue at the Blue Line, again, many are constructed of plastic, and though I haven’t measured them, appear to exceed the 43-inch height limit. Most importantly though, one box physically blocks an entrance/exit door to the Blue Line station and four are positioned under the overhang, eliminating a protected space for pedestrians and completely obstructing the sign in Braille for the Blue Line.

Since when does the First Amendment give the newspaper business the right to disfigure a space maintained by the village and designed for the public? Because newspapers are readily available for purchase or for free in numerous stores around the village, and the public library has an extensive collection, I find it hard to believe that eliminating the nuisance and eyesore of the over-abundant boxes would subject the village to a First Amendment case.

Judy Frei

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