It is a bold, well-targeted initiative that elevates the legitimate frustrations of Oak Parkers living along Roosevelt Road between Ridgeland and Harvey. With its passage Monday night, Oak Park’s village board approved a plan driven by the police department and village staff to start towing the cars of any non-residents parking after 10 p.m. on the 1000 and 1150 blocks of those streets.

Why? To protect the safety, the well-being and the sense of community of Oak Parkers who have long put up with late-night rowdies spilling out of Mike’s Place, a Berwyn bar, and into Oak Park where they park their cars.

Neighbors have been upset and frustrated by the profane hollering, the urinating, the trash and even sometimes the brawling of Mike’s overserved and under-mannered patrons. But when in the past year this escalated into gunfire, neighbors were outraged and that got the attention of the chief of police and some members of the village board.

“It went from more of a nuisance to violence,” Chief Shatonya Johnson told the village board on May 8.

Intermediate interventions have been attempted. Police talked to Michael Lapinard, owner of the bar. He expressed concern about the incidents but offered no solutions. Berwyn police, who have jurisdiction over the south side of Roosevelt Road, nodded their heads and said they were unable to respond forcefully. Easy for them to say since most entry points into Berwyn off Roosevelt are blocked by cul-de-sacs. Oak Park handed out 2,000  parking tickets to illegal parkers on those blocks. Only a third got paid and it had no impact on the traffic.

Finally in January, Oak Park police took the bold but unsustainable step of stationing officers on the blocks adjacent to Roosevelt every night. That worked but, on a force short of officers, was not an ultimate solution.

Now we have an ordinance that will tow the cars of every non-resident parked on those blocks after 10 p.m. 7 nights a week. The financial wallop and extreme inconvenience of having your car towed ought to break through the fog of even the most buzzed Mike’s Place guest.

Good for Oak Park for putting its residents first and for being willing to invent an entirely new solution.

Join the discussion on social media!