On April 30, the Oak Park Transportation Commission recommended the proposed parking pilot be sent on to the village board. As a witness to presentations to the Transportation Commission by the outside consultant for this proposal, I am shocked by this recommendation. Over eight years of District 97 board service, I attended many consultant presentations representing several Oak Park village boards, and I candidly say that I have never witnessed presentations for any village proposal that were less coherent, credible, convincing, or confidence building than the presentations to the Transportation Commission.

The presentations to the Transportation Commission lacked comprehensible information, rationales that warranted any further discussion of the parking pilot proposal, and facts on a range of topics from signage to technology to enforcement to budget to safety to the impact on the quality of resident life in Oak Park. When questions were submitted to the Transportation Commission seeking information to fill in the gaping factual holes created by the consultant’s presentations, those questions went unanswered — I assume because there were no answers.

On April 30, a six-member commission representing 0.011602274% of the Oak Park 2016 total population of 51,714, recommended to the village board an ill-conceived, incomplete, and unjustified parking pilot. Despite an absolute lack of data that this pilot is neither needed nor doable, this pilot was recommended to move forward. This leads me to believe that this pilot is in reality step one in a plan to overturn an overnight parking ordinance that has played a pivotal role in making Oak Park the safe, successful, and nationally recognized village that it has been for decades.

If you need further evidence that this pilot is a disaster in waiting, after recommending the pilot to the village board, the Transportation Commission recommended the village set up a task force to monitor the pilot, establish goals, measures, and benchmarks because “it could be difficult to measure how effective the proposed pilot study could be.” 

I find the Transportation Commission request for this task force after the recommendation of the pilot to be proof positive that this process was a rush to judgment, a solution in search of a problem, without due reflection on the multiple negative impacts on the villagers of Oak Park.

Over their next two meetings, the duly elected trustees on the village board will review the recommendation of the Transportation Commission. As trustees of the common good of our village, there is only one credible and correct action that the village board can take that promotes and protects the common good: reject the recommendation of the Transportation Commission.

James Gates

Oak Park

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