I’m writing today to express my opinion about the Slow Streets Program the village has been running for a few weeks now. I believe Slow Streets is a terrible program. The huge signs with blinking lights are hideous; they make the streets look like they are under construction. No one wants to see big blinking blockades down their street. I live on Thomas because it’s a relatively peaceful block, and now it looks like Lake Street with its street blockades.
Aesthetics aside, I’m not seeing this program benefiting anyone at all. I’ve seen more than one car going 40 miles per hour down Thomas, barely stopping at stop signs, and just because the signs say No Thru-Traffic doesn’t mean anyone is respecting those boundaries. Because of this, I don’t feel comfortable walking in the street.
Drivers are “supposed to” drive carefully down Slow Streets, but I’m not safe to walk in the street because of what drivers are “supposed to” do. It’s also impossible to make right turns onto Thomas Street when someone else is waiting at a stop sign heading west because the other lane is blocked off. Compounded with the increased street parking, there is very little room to maneuver.
What was meant to create a safe pedestrian space has only become a difficult experience for drivers and certainly an unsafe place for anyone not in a car. I think Oak Park’s best bet is to either completely block off these streets like they do with block parties and create alternative routes for drivers, or do away with the program altogether.
Between the unsightly signs, safety issues, and problems with traffic flow, I think Slow Street’s pilot has come to an end. This half-in-half-out system is not working.