Reading the online account of this week’s village board meeting left me astonished and angry that the board would even consider countermanding established village traffic policy on speed bumps. To control the problem of speeding cars, if in fact they are speeding, is to use a sledgehammer to kill a fly. And we have a village manager telling these people and the board that they can be approved on a “case-by-case basis,” further encouraging these petitioners and dividing the village.
Why dividing? If one street can have them, then this will spread like wildfire because traffic will move to other streets. What the board is considering is the rights of the few over the rights of the many.
East Avenue and Lombard are secondary thoroughfares with bridges across the Eisenhower to access South Oak Park. The 600 block of Lombard is just south of village hall, so it is going to have more traffic. I drive it all the time and I don’t see speeding. How can you when cars are parked on each side and you need to slow up just to get through? East is problematic because it is also a major secondary street, and we know of the problem with high-schoolers speeding on it. 1200 N. Woodbine and 1200 N. Columbian do not like traffic fast or slow going north to North Avenue, but that is an outlet for a jammed Oak Park Avenue.
These cries for speed bumps are not so much about speeding as about heavy traffic. This is nothing new. These petitioners knew or should have known that their street had more traffic when they moved there. I live in the 700 block of North Grove and we get more than our share because Oak Park Avenue is often so jammed. Yet we are not clamoring for speed bumps. We live with it because we have to accept our share of the burden of living in Oak Park. If I get speed bumps, which I definitely do not want, why should others on neighboring streets be called upon to shoulder what I refused to accept? So I accept it because I live in the village and cope with it. I am not a NIMBY; I am a responsible citizen.
As a responsible citizen, I call for stricter enforcement. Not speed cameras, not crazy speed bumps, but radar and other means. Also, as has been used on my street, safety signage about children at play. And calling the police, as I do when we see speeders. I get license numbers and car details and the police take them. These are usually habitual speeders. Increasing the budget for more traffic police should be done, too.
No speed bump I have ever seen allowed traffic to go over it at 20 mph. Most drivers almost stop to avoid damaging their front ends. Want to see what I mean? Drive over in Austin. It’s impossible. It’s low class. And it’s just plain stupid.
If you want to explosively divide this village, just start putting in speed bumps. They will not slow traffic, they will splatter it. And we will be sending the message that our residents are just too stupid to obey traffic laws, so we now have to kill flies with sledgehammers.