Traffic congestion and parking. Say that to drivers and residents who traverse or live in the area around Roosevelt Middle School and you’re bound to hear gnashing teeth and maybe a scream or two.

Drivers queuing to pick up or drop off kids, double parking, parents dropping off lunches – all, and more, have been ongoing complaints. Getting around and finding parking when there are big events also causes headaches.

Even the village’s Comprehensive Plan, done in 2003, notes that issues in that area – formally known as the PRI – need attention, but not much has been done to resolve the issues.

That is, until now.

The village has begun undertaking a comprehensive parking and traffic study that officials feel will help assess how to unclog traffic as much as possible and provide more parking.  The study, which already has been started, will be conducted by Gewalt Hamilton, Chicago. Total price tag will be $10,900. 

“We were committed to do something about this in 2013. We were elected to solve the problem. This will be a good first step toward that,” Trustee Tom Cargie said.

Any recommendations coming from this study, which are expected this summer, will not be part of District 90’s exterior renovation plan at Roosevelt, but will address long-standing neighborhood problems.    

“Short of building a parking deck in the middle of town, we never have enough parking, this will help find solutions and make things better,” Village Administrator Eric Palm told trustees last week.

The PRI, which encompasses Roosevelt, the public library and Centennial Park, stretches from Chicago Avenue on the north, Quick on the south, Jackson on the east and Lathrop on the west. Some surrounding streets will also be studied if secondary issues arise during the study, Palm said. 

“At this juncture, we’re trying to do something more comprehensive that does not just look at the school and the library but the whole area, Palm said.

The study will include a review of traffic and parking studies, including those conducted by District 90 as part of its exterior renovations project at the school. Observations and traffic counts will be conducted before and after school.

Traffic congestion on Saturday mornings also will be studied as sometimes it is difficult to navigate Jackson when cars are parked on both sides of the street, Trustee Carmela Corsini said. Mid-day Fridays also will be looked at because it is the time when a large number of volunteers go to the school, she added.

Residents will be able to weigh in through an online survey as well as during a community meeting and a hearing before the Traffic and Safety Commission.  Institutional stakeholders including the library, park district and school district, the River Forest Tennis Club and First Presbyterian Church, also will be asked to provide feedback.

Findings will offer solutions for off-street parking as well as their pros and cons, recommendations on providing traffic flow and congestion and cost estimates. 

Parking had been a principal problem during the more than two years that District 90 worked on a plan for renovations at Roosevelt. Traffic congestion had been as well, but that issue bubbled up during a resident meeting about the project in March when a number of residents urged the village to take it up because no other unit of government could really do so. 

Then shortly before school break in late March, village, school district, library and park district elected leaders met for more than two hours to draft a plan that would satisfy village requirements on parking and, at the same time, begin to address long-standing concerns about parking and traffic around the school. 

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