Per the request of a few Clinton and Bonnie Brae residents and based merely on anecdotal evidence, last November the village installed temporary blockades on Clinton and Bonnie Brae, and modified LeMoyne/Harlem and Greenfield/Harlem junctions to reduce cut-through traffic from eastbound North Avenue to southbound Harlem.

The River Forest Board of Trustees approved the installation without the full support of the Traffic and Safety Commission, against the recommendation of a village-requested professional study, and without a fact-based justification.

The overwhelming majority of residents, 72-75%, answered the village traffic survey and spoke at village meetings against the blockades, emphasizing the conclusions of the village-requested professional study that the traffic on Clinton and Bonnie Brae was much, much lower (one/half to one/third) and safer than the traffic on the next streets, William and Monroe, and repeating the professional study’s warnings that traffic on William and Monroe would increase.

Indeed, a follow-up study by the village itself confirmed that the blockades increased the traffic on Monroe and William up to 300%, surpassing the IDOT safety limit for traffic on residential streets, while at the same time the cut-through traffic remained at the same level. Additionally, car accidents next to the blockades were reported.

So why block Clinton and Bonnie Brae and the junctions? Wouldn’t any reasonable governing body take notice and remove the blockades? Not this body in River Forest.

To please the handful of Clinton and Bonnie Brae residents, some of whom are village commission members (hmm, food for thought), the professional study, costing $16,500, was discarded because it went against the installation of the blockades. Similarly, our governing body didn’t even consider its own village study, same reason. The report of car accidents was ignored because, like the professional and the village studies, it showed that the blockades brought no benefits and much damage.

Yes, the village board wants the blockades. Why? Friendships? Favors? Who knows? We asked but they never explained. Certainly not for the safety of 72% of residents.

In River Forest, whims and anecdotal evidence rule, while reason, facts, and the safety of the residents’ supermajority have no voice. Ruling by fiat, not by a democratic process.

Giuseppina Nucifora
River Forest

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