King of the road

Opinion: Editorials

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Print

By Editorial

We're looking hard for the upsides to the COVID-19 pandemic and we've found one in Oak Park's nascent Slow Streets project. The pilot launched a week ago, covers five miles of an interior rectangle east to west, north to south. Cars, local traffic only, is allowed but their preeminence is diminished in favor of rollerbladers, skateboarders, joggers, kids on bikes and strollers.

The idea is to clear outdoor spaces across the neighborhoods where people can get some air, some exercise while maintaining essential social distancing. The notion has gained traction across the world as people came quickly to appreciate streets not clogged with cars as quarantine kept drivers home. A reclaiming of the crowded public way took hold across Europe and in some American cities.

In this village, an advocacy group called Bike Walk Oak Park advocated with the Transportation Commission to test the idea here. It was welcomed by the advisory commission, accepted by the village board as a test, and quickly implemented by an overworked public works department. 

Not everyone is a fan. And no plan is perfect. During the Journal's informal survey along a slow street in south Oak Park, a resident argued that its proximity to the commercial strip on the 800 block of South Oak Park Avenue would lead to a dangerous tangle with delivery trucks. We could see that happening. A happier camper out rollerblading with her daughter said they'd seen few cars and all of them moved slowly and carefully around fellow travelers.

We hope that when this pilot ends, as the weather turns, village officials will be in a mood to refine and expand Slow Streets next spring and not to just shut it down. We could all do with some reimagining of how we move through this town, the priorities we put on various means of transit.

Slow Streets is both simple and profound. Let it grow.

Love the Journal?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Wednesday Journal and OakPark.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Answer Book 2019

To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2019 Answer Book, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Oak Park and River Forest.


            
SubscribeClassified
MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad

Latest Comments