Oak Park, River Forest brace for blizzard

Village warns residents to be aware of snow-triggered parking bans

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By Marty Stempniak

Staff Reporter

Oak Park and River Forest are readying their salt and snowplows as weather prognosticators are predicting that upwards of 20 inches of fluffy white stuff will drop on the villages tonight.

Forecasters are predicting that a couple of inches of snow will fall this afternoon before "the bottom falls out" and up to 3 inches start dropping per hour after 9 p.m., said John Wielebnicki, public works director for Oak Park. Crews were out last night after Mother Nature plopped about an inch of snow on the village, and Oak Park expects to have up to 25 snow plows on the street tonight.

Oak Park's emergency snow removal rules went into effect last night. Residents should not park on main streets designated as snow routes, which include Augusta, Austin, Chicago, Division, Garfield, Harlem, Harrison, Jackson, Lake, Madison, North Avenue, Oak Park Avenue, Ridgeland, Roosevelt and Wisconsin from Madison to the emergency entrance of Rush Oak Park Hospital. Parking is also prohibited on portions of Marion, Ontario and North Boulevard, according to the village.

All other streets in Oak Park follow the odd-even rule: From 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., you must park on the even-numbered side of the street (east and north sides) on even dates and on the odd-numbered address side on the street (west and south) on odd dates. In commercial districts, the odd-even rule is in effect from midnight to 8 a.m. The village's overnight parking ban also applies from 2:30 to 6 a.m.

River Forest's parking ban was in effect, too, starting last night, according to a village press release. Residents are asked to keep their cars off the street to make way for snow plows.

As the snow starts flying, OakPark.com will be reporting all day on snow issues.

Reader Comments

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Chris Goode from Oak Park  

Posted: February 3rd, 2011 10:01 AM

By the way, the picture with the article is 9am on Tuesday, the day the article was posted, not Wednesday.


Posted: February 2nd, 2011 8:40 PM

@OP Resident, They plow the same way for every storm. Hello.The main streets first and then the side streets. Whats so hard about that, that you can not comprehend. There I told you. Are you happy. Go out side and look at your street and alley. If its plowed- They came, If not- they are coming. PS. Todays snowfall was 16' it may take the plows a little bit more time to clear the main streets. Gheesh

W from Skokie  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 8:00 PM

Momma Did it this AM. Didn't you see? Can I have dessert?

W's Momma  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 7:42 PM

Get off the damn computer and shovel the drive way!

W from Skokie  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 7:22 PM

j.oakpark In such extreme conditions we all have to be part of the effort and understand that we must not expect instant solutions. Whatever your expectations, they can never be met if you don't approach the problem with understanding and a bow to Mama Nature. Is this news service a secret?

Snowbound Waiter from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 6:15 PM

W from Skokie - Hahahahahaha!!!!! I love you!!!!!!

OP Resdient  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 6:15 PM

@OP We got it. You want to be kept in the dark. The rest of us deserve to know what exactly is the emergency plan that Ray Johnson touted? Where were the plows first assigned to remove the snow? How much time was spent clearing those areas? It's now dark & folks looking to get out in their alley & shovel after the plows come through are in trouble. Frigid temperatures on Thursday are going to make it very difficult for people to clear a path out of their garage. The Village snow plan didn't work

j.oakpark from oakpark  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 6:00 PM

just got the email, D97, classes canceled tomorrow: Due to the hazardous travel conditions and dangerously frigid weather, District 97 classes and after school activities, including parent-teacher conferences and Hephzibah programming, have been canceled for Thursday, February 3. In addition, the district's administration building will be closed

j.oakpark from oak park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 5:58 PM

Chet21, you had your alley cleared and i haven't had my street cleared. Lucky you. W. from Skokie... people have pulled together here in oak park, lots of them. since you don't live here you can't look out your window and see that, or the lack of street clearing on the main street or side streets. why are you trolling oak park's paper?

W from Skokie  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 5:48 PM

I don't live in Oak Park. In our neighborhood, neighbors - yes, PEOPLE - who live there got out and helped themselves! Interesting concept. You all sound like spoiled brats!


Posted: February 2nd, 2011 5:28 PM

All you whiners about communication- What do you want communicated????? They are in the process of plowing the damn Village. They started last night and have not stopped. What do you expect- A time when they will be down your block? Get real people!!!

chet21 from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 5:19 PM

We exist in a non-perfect world. We just got hit with a perfect storm. Under these circumstances, adding that I just shoveled my garage apron (alley was plowed a little while ago) I think that the village maintenance workers have done a wonderful job. Thank you. PS - I can get my car OUT of the garage, but no way I can get it back in. Can I park on the street? PPS - Sleeping on cots?!? Again, THANK YOU!!! PPPS - Still voting NO on referendum!

TaxPauper from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 5:13 PM

Communication is needed, please. Even if I can get my car out to the streets, does it make sense to go out driving yet (especially if the expected frigid temperatures are said to render the ice-melt useless)????? How about schools, etc. (Chgo schools closing day 2) Please advise, O keepers of the Oak Park news.


Posted: February 2nd, 2011 5:11 PM

Thanks for nothing, Alley Problems. Mocking people concerned about the lack of attention being to side streets and alleys doesn't address the real problems many of us are facing.

j.oakpark from oak park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 5:06 PM

that photo attcahed to this story could not have been taken at 9:00 am today, could it? there is snow on one car and none on the sidewalk on the right side of the picture...seems like a faux news stock photo image mistake.

j.oakpark from oak park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 5:02 PM

yeah, we did that in our alley. good for us, we had a laugh talking about just getting our tax bills. we also cleared the entire block of sidewalks. I said no plows on jackson. our street was plowed once, sometime overnight. D.R., good to be a northsider...eh?

OP Resident  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 5:00 PM

@D.R. I hope your report is not the emergency plan that Ray Johnson reports has been implemented by Village Manager Barwin. There are many neighborhood streets that haven't been touched. Alleys are still blocked. To my knowledge, Barwin has not issued any update on which areas have been cleared & when residents can expect to see plows working to clear neighborhood streets and alleys. TV6 is not being utilized in this emergency & the Village website has no updates. What's Barwin doing?

Alley Problems...  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 4:47 PM

For all the moaning about the alleys not being plowed, check out the last picture in this gallery for one block's approach to the problem. The village can't do everything all at once. http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/02-02-2011/Your_photos:_Oak_Park_and_River_Forest_snow_day

D.R. from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 4:34 PM

I've seen many plows come up and down Ridgeland and Division re-cleaning already cleared streets. Side streets seem clear as well. When will they finally make a pass down the alleyways though? Doesn't matter how clear the streets are if nobody can reach them.

OP Resdient  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 3:35 PM

@J.H. Sounds like you are really lucky. The streets in the Longfellow School neighborhood still have deep snow. Alley plowing is part of the plan. I'm still concerned and upset that Village Manager Barwin is not providing updates on conditions via TV6, www.oak-park.us or to the Wednesday Journal. People need to be able to let their employeers know if they will be able to get to work on Thursday. No chance if the alleys are not addressed. And soon! Would someone please order Barwin to speak? Now!

J.H. from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 3:23 PM

Maybe we were just really lucky, but we're on the southeast side, just north of the Ike, and our streets were plowed early this AM, and are completely passable. Jackson looks like it's plowed to me over here. I don't think the alleys have ever been plowed by the village in the past, at least I've never seen that done. Has anyone ever seen the Village doing that? Perhaps they will consider it, but to me it makes sense that the safety of those already traveling should come first...

Chris Goode from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 2:53 PM

I have seen several plows on the side streets in my neighborhood in southwest OP. Streets could use more work but are passable. Most of the sidewalks have been dug out by homeowners. I hope the plan includes alleys as otherwise no one is going anywhere since they are impassible. Sooner would be better as then we can clean up the plowed debris that they leave in their wake.

Rich Schurr from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 2:40 PM

24 hours since it started to snow and still no plows on residential streets (at least not the ones I can see). Why not spend money on basic services for all streets instead of $5 million to pave one in gold?

J.oakpark from oak park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 2:40 PM

I have not seen a plow on jackson, yet today. i first went out at 6:30 am to walk my dog. I have been out several times to clear the front of my house, along with all of my neighbors. several of us have worked on our alley for 4 hrs... no plows. what is up with that? could this be the vma's bilandic moment?

OP Resident  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 1:58 PM

The photo shows Oak Park Ave. in really fine shape. Streets and sidewalks have been cleared. Now it's time to bring the plows into the neighborhoods. Thanks to Ray Johnson for the info but we really ought to be hearing from our Village Manager. TV6, the Village's website and this forum should be utilized to update residents on the status of the streets and alleys.

OP Resident  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 1:46 PM

Here's what I know. TV6 directs you to www.oak-park.us for the latest information. The plan is to clear the main roads. No mention of when residents can expect neighborhood streets will be plowed. The Village is aware of the issues with drifting snow in the alleys. We're asked to be patient and that's understandable. It's going to take a major effort from the snow removal crews to get Oak Park open. I think the Village Manager needs to provide the community with regular updates on conditions

Ray Johnson from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 1:43 PM

The snow emergency plan is in effect and being implemented, with prioritization of streets and then alleys. DPW staff worked shifts through the night (and slept on cots at the DPW center). Mr. Barwin was fully engaged in all aspects of preparedness and action. Staff are now finalizing a communication plan in regards to the timing and process of alley clean-up, and will be asking for patience as they clean-up this record breaking storm.

resident from OP  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 1:38 PM

The park district has $500,000 in maintenance workers. Get them out of the parks and into the damn streets!!!!

Resident TaxPauper from Oak Park  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 1:27 PM

Right! Where's the timely follow up, please?

OP Resident  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 12:50 PM

What's the plan? Will the Wednesday Journal please get some information from Village Hall regarding snow removal. When can we expect street plowing in the neighborhoods to begin? How about the alleys? Neighbors are out clearing the sidewalks but we haven't seen a plow since 3am and the drifts in the alley make any passage impossible. The snow has stopped. It's time for action! I know the drivers have got to be worn out but can we trust that Mr. Barwin has a real plan in place.

Les CTT from op  

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 11:13 AM

Sr., you're a rotten liar, just like Gary Balling and the parks people who commit perjury in court. I called the parks and the village public works this a.m. and they confirmed that there is no govt cooperation whatsoever during the current storm nor in the past. The parks do their stuff and the village does the streets. The village told me the schools don't help. So whoever you are - afraid to leave your name - you're a liar and when I said there is no intergovt cooperation I was right.


Posted: February 1st, 2011 5:29 PM

@Ms. Leslie, How many trees were planted in OP last yr? How many were cut down? OP- A Tree City USA recipient!

Dr. Love, PhD Climatology from Oak Park  

Posted: February 1st, 2011 5:26 PM

"The current global warming is modest and is not of any threat to humanity". Said Dr. Madhav Khandekar, Environment Canada expert reviewer for the IPPC. "He also went on to say that we may be entering a much colder era as several low temps and snow accumulation records have been broken the last five years. This past decade has seen colder winters throughout the n. hemisphere than during the 1990-2000 decade." Our kids only suffer from climate change robber barons taking our $$ for this tripe.

Dr. Leslie M. Golden, Ph.D from OP  

Posted: February 1st, 2011 4:39 PM

The massive storms we see result from the input of additional energy into the atmosphere from the release of latent heat of water upon evaporation. This additional water results from global warming of the oceans. The destruction of trees leads DIRECTLY to global warming by reducing their cooling effects and therefore the storms. Let Balling cut down the 100 foot trees with their 80-foot canopies; your kids will suffer the results of your ignorance.

LesBrains, Sr. from Oak Park  

Posted: February 1st, 2011 4:21 PM

If Les CTT actually knew anything about intergovt cooperation (which, of course,he doesn't!), he'd have already seen that VOP, PD, D97 & D200 staff are already well into their joint efforts to clear snow, share resources, and protect the public. It's a big storm, so it will be a few days before things are fully normal, but it's "all hands on deck" in town, the ramblings of the village idiot not withstanding. Anyone supported by LesCTT is doomed to fail, likely a good thing.


Posted: February 1st, 2011 3:20 PM

This storm was caused by the slaughter of innocent trees in Field Park; vote on April 5th and we will never have snow storms again.

Violet Aura  

Posted: February 1st, 2011 12:05 PM

@Paul Rubio: When did storms become "events" and when can we get storms back?

Les CTT Golden from OP  

Posted: February 1st, 2011 11:46 AM

If there was intergovt cooperation in OP, the $500K maintenance staff of the park district & those of the schools (which will probably close) would bring their manpower & equipment to bear on this pending life & death emergency. But you can be sure that Gary Balling at the parks & the school heads will just sit on their rears collecting their salaries rather than helping out. This attitude will change at the parks if you elect Diane Dunn, Tom Finch, & Julie Grossman-MacCarthy on April 5.

D. Houlihan from Oak Park  

Posted: February 1st, 2011 10:15 AM

I hope the OPRF students who parked along Chicago this morning get a break from the Village. Unless they got MomMail like I did at 6:15 this morning, they might not have known that the parking ban had already gone into effect. Plenty of cars parked out on Chicago right now.

Paul Rubio from Oak Park, IL  

Posted: February 1st, 2011 9:58 AM

According to my meteorology professor here at Valparaiso University, this event might not end up being so big, because the storm might track in such a way so that most of the big snow will go north into southeast Wisconsin--but that's just what the NCEP models are showing. See for yourself if you like.

Nancy Trock T-Renegade Fitness from Oak Park  

Posted: February 1st, 2011 9:42 AM

SNOW Homework: Get ready - jumping jacks or jog in place or dance! before you suit up to go out shovel/digging. A Check the condition of your equipment. A Take your time. Really protect your back from strain (masters level). Alternate left/right sides of body leverage. B Stay hydrated. A If you are in shape, you'll know when enuf is enuf. If you are not in shape, get help with that. After the workout, stretch you muscles before inertia sets in so you don't "really feel it" the next day

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