On Aug. 1, 2022, Oak Park residents submitted a letter to the Oak Park Village Board of Trustees demanding action in response to the crime and traffic issues coming from the BP gas station on the corner of Taylor and Chicago avenues. The letter has been signed by 65 neighbors. The station was the site of the murder of Jailyn Logan Bledsoe in June. Neighbors had been working with the village for months to address this station. 

We learned just days ago that it is the most violent gas station in Oak Park. The police are more and more frequently deployed there. This use of our police is not the most effective way to deal with these issues and is a poor use of village resources. 

At the Aug. 1 village board meeting, the trustees spent over two hours discussing how to deal with the violence and traffic issues coming from this station and all 24-hour gas stations. We appreciate the time and serious consideration they have given to these matters. They are concerned about resident safety. At that meeting, however, only minor changes were approved by the board, while the board has agreed to decide on more significant remedies at the next meeting on Sept. 6. We are relying on the board to act on that date, as our sense of urgency is unabated. 

We ask village staff to join with the trustees to ensure that resident safety is the village’s number one priority. It is dismaying that we have had to push so hard to get the village to take any action at all to address the most violent gas station in Oak Park. The police alone should not be tasked with these issues. Many of us want to see that station closed if other significant measures cannot be taken to ensure the safety of patrons and neighbors. As the world becomes more violent, we call on the village to be aggressive in addressing businesses that are clearly nuisances, such as this one. We applaud the board’s exploration in September of ways to hold businesses accountable for persistent violent crimes and whether we should have restrictions on 24-hour gas stations.

Here is our letter to the trustees, the village manager, members of the Transportation Commission, and village staff: 

The residents of the 400, 500 & 600 blocks of North Taylor have long been concerned for our safety, due to criminal activity at and around the BP Gas Station (on the corner of Chicago and Taylor), and dangerous traffic patterns that ensue from the business at the gas station, making it a public nuisance. We have recently been joined by some of our neighbors on Humphrey and Lombard in our efforts to get the village to act. Many who attended a neighborhood meeting earlier this month, expressed a desire that the gas station be closed altogether. 

Our concerns were brought to the board and escalated to the top of the agenda for the Transportation Commission earlier this year. While we remain truly grateful for, and appreciative of, this attention and response, we note with grief that it is while we were trying to obtain remedy from the village for our concerns that Jailyn Logan Bledsoe was murdered at the gas station. Violent crime at that station did not begin with Jailyn’s murder. 

Violent crimes have been occurring there for many years. There are serious safety issues specific to this gas station, as well as issues surrounding 24-hour businesses and gas stations throughout the village. As it stands, the BP gas station on Chicago and Taylor endangers the safety and health of the public. The village has had to use untold resources to police the serious crime and traffic incidents there. Residents feel the need to avoid — and instruct their children to avoid — the public areas adjacent to the station. Without question, our concerns warrant immediate action. The time to rely on “good faith” gestures has passed. The gas station owner has created and maintained a business that is hostile to residents in the neighborhood, without consequence, for years. 

We wholeheartedly support the initial recommendations from the Transportation Commission, which spent two hours listening to our concerns and engaged in a robust discussion about possible solutions. We strongly believe that the elimination of the driveway on Taylor will alleviate many of the safety and traffic concerns, without simply diverting the problems to Lombard or Humphrey. 

Points of note: 

Village ordinance currently limits gas stations to two cutouts. This station does not warrant an exception. Village ordinance also recognizes the inherent danger of having a driveway too near to the intersection. Residents have long noted near accidents and pedestrian danger associated with cars driving on Chicago Avenue and turning into the Taylor cutout as if it were a direct entry. 

If removing the driveway overly inhibits the delivery of fuel or goods, then the village can require a significant barrier (a gate or a fence that is padlocked) which truck drivers or staff can unlock for the purposes of deliveries. 

Residents welcome a rumble strip. If, after putting down a rumble strip, traffic issues persist, we would be willing to explore other mitigations (speed tables, curb bump-outs, traffic circles and the like).

None of the residents have asked for a speed wagon. 

In the future, we ask the Trustees to explore enacting the following ordinances: 

Prohibit 24-hour gas stations in residential areas that are not within a block of a public highway. 

Add a section to the Nuisance Code that recognizes a business that hosts three or more violent crimes (including any display of deadly weapons) in a six-month period will be presumed to be a nuisance. This would shift some of the burden of crime prevention to the business owner. 

Any business that has hosted violent crime must be required to have working security cameras of the outside area, as well as whatever protections the owner feels are necessary for his or her employees. 

If police are able to identify goods sold that attract a violent criminal element, the village should consider an ordinance prohibiting their sale.

Residents would like to see the village impose a standard for management of waste at the gas station site (trash from the gas station blows blocks in either direction on Taylor Avenue) — including a barrier between the dumpsters and the neighborhood — which is a violation of current village code. We appreciate very much the time several trustees have taken to meet with us, and the assistance of the Transportation Commission. 


Consider the importance of peace and public safety to the residents of the village. 

Do not lose sight of the unfathomable loss of an 18-year-old girl to her family and to this community. 

Take seriously our sense of urgency and our need for action. We live here. We observe every day, multiple times a day, the costs of not removing that curb cut, the need for an obstacle to calm traffic, and what happens at the BP gas station on Chicago and Taylor 24 hours a day. 

Karen Burke, Brad Farris, Diane Ratekin, Tom Yates, Carolyn Newberry Schwartz, Dr. David Schwartz, Georgina Swanson, Denis Roarty, Barbara Shulman, Dan Lesser, Laura Smith, Sean Smith, Rhoda Bernstein, Allan Bernstein, Nathan Aydelott, Deborah DelSignore, Bruce Robbins, Geoff Swanson, Helene Swanson, Candace Durham, Kim LoDolce, Susan Abbott, Lynn Heald, Kristi Osga, Victor Ottati, Jerry Delaney, Karl Leonard, Gina Gleason, Carmelita Nicks, Melvin Nicks, MaryAnn Mason, Hilarie Terebessy, David Terebessy, Kim Grimaud Phillips, Kim Vulinovic, Dan Vulinovic, Rudolph Robinson, Sabrena Robinson, Kathleen Bokar, Mike Bokar, Megan McLean, Matt McLean, Pam Penney, Eric Penney, Scott Webb, John Gagliano, Gary Alder, Diana Alder, Jasan Slack, Erin Slack, John Norton, Beth Clark, Clare Roarty, Sophia Burke, Tom Pratt, Marilyn Pratt, Gale Liebman, Tonya Hamilton, Clare Frieling, Darin Frieling, Lynne Duschene, Dave Duschene, Mike Phillips, Melanie Jakupovic, Cathy Schornstein, David Watson

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