Recently, while walking home east on Lake Street, I encountered a vision-impaired man trying to cross Forest Avenue at the northwest corner. With three cement trucks sitting with flashers on in the Lake Street right turn lane, and two additional trucks being unloaded just inside the construction site, I offered to help this man across the intersection.

Once across the intersection, he thanked me and I began to go ahead. As I started through the covered sidewalk area along the south side of the construction site, I realized how difficult a walk this would be for him, and so I turned back and helped him through the entire construction area.

Since I live near the construction site, I pass through this area several times a day on a regular basis. My vision is good, and I am physically in good health, but what about people who are in any way limited? How does the village or the developer expect such residents or visitors to traverse the gauntlet of obstacles along this block? Try it sometime and see for yourself!

I find it hard to believe that anyone from village hall has inspected or even walked through this area. If they had, they would encounter a decorative metal grate, which once bordered a tree, that’s up on an angle above sidewalk level, as well as two concave areas where planters once stood on pavers. Added to these obstacles, there are several different levels caused by the curbing left over from the old parking garage entrance and exit. 

One response you might have would be to say: Just cross the street! Since this area has been set up and lighted for pedestrian use, it seems to me that it ought to be properly leveled so it is not a challenge to both the able-bodied and the not-so-able-bodied to traverse.

I think we can do better.

Michael Doyle

Oak Park

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