If you’re walking to one of Oak Park’s 10 elementary schools but you’re not sure where to turn, just look down.
If you do you’re liable to spot yellow block letters of the school’s name painted on the sidewalk, along with directional arrows. The sidewalk stencils are located near every school. They were inscribed earlier this spring, part of a Village of Oak Park initiative to provide safe walking and biking routes around the schools.
Three years back the village government applied for and won a half million dollar federal grant aimed at improving air quality and reducing traffic congestion in cities, said Jim Budrick, Oak Park’s engineer. The sidewalk stencils were part of the village’s overall plan, he said. The village also upgraded pavement markings at crosswalks and school speed zone signs.
The stencils have both pleased and irritated Oak Parkers, said Budrick.