Yes, Wednesday Journal, there has been opposition to the Chicago-style parking program. The program envisions Oak Park streets with visions of “Parking Dibs” after big snowfalls, or the “horrible” cars with faulty burglar alarms parking night after night on single-family streets (as the Oak Park police can evidence from recent complaints).
Hearings on the parking changes have been held multiple times over the past year. Though the Journal was not represented, neighbors near Mills Tower have attended multiple meetings, including the two meetings that I and other residents of the 200 and 300 blocks of Home Avenue attended at village hall — in the small community room and the large board room.
We are just not being heard, as if the fix is already in.
At those meetings various residents, including the seniors at Mills Tower, pointed out the dangerous traffic squeeze the new parking along Randolph has caused, particularly just east of South Marion on Randolph. Evidence was provided that traffic on Randolph, even emergency vehicles, have been observed stuck in that bottleneck. But no change has come.
We discussed the decrease in sight lines and blind spots created for egress from the new Oasis residential project. No change.
Residents discussed the difficulty visitors and contractors have in finding parking at certain times because of the recent rapid increase in the issuance of permitted parking — even residents being able to park in front of their own homes to drop off packages. Result: more permits issued.
Back when the stoplight was put in at Home and Washington, Village Engineer Jim Budrick testified before the board that the change resulted in a 30% increase in traffic on Home Avenue. It’s likely increased more by now. Complaints have prompted the village to monitor speed and traffic volumes in the past. The street is narrow for a higher traffic way, and yet parking along Home Avenue is more concentrated than ever. The pilot program did not consider that data.
We moved our family here 20 years ago. We moved out of Chicago and its “Parking Dibs.” We’ve witnessed increased traffic from the addition of the traffic light. Our residential zoning change from R-1 (most protected) to R-6 (downzoned), without warning, increased overnight parking to conditions where now visitors and guests, even residents themselves, have difficulty finding parking. Nor will conditions improve with allowing cars to park for up to 72 hours — quite simply an unmanageable proposal.
These are not progressive improvements for a long-term homeowner in Oak Park. Quite the opposite.