The Slow Streets program works

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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From my viewpoint along Van Buren, and contrary to the writer in last week's WJ [Slow Streets program is a failure, Viewpoints, Sept. 23], the Slow Streets program is successful. As soon as the signs were in place, I noticed a distinct reduction in the volume of traffic. Furthermore cars were moving more slowly. Before Slow Streets we had cars racing down the street, some even blowing through the stop sign at our corner. 

It is wonderful to see families with young children biking along Van Buren, couples walking down the street, and friends walking and talking while being able to maintain a safe distance. The street has truly become multi-use. 

I can't speak for all of Oak Park, but where I live, Slow Streets works. I hope it continues in the future.

Bill Peterman

Oak Park

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Reader Comments

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Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: October 10th, 2020 5:59 PM

Anna, you are correct. I live on the 800 block of South Kenilworth. Today 3 cars were going north on our alley while I tried to go south. They should have ignored the barricade, and driven north up Carpenter. It would have been much safer.

Neal Buer from Oak Park  

Posted: October 10th, 2020 5:54 PM

The slow streets just means I have to drive around a barricade. Nothing more.

Jim Peterson  

Posted: October 10th, 2020 5:34 PM

Thank you so much to the Village for the Slow Streets program. We take advantage of it often and it is so pleasant to spread out on the streets.

Waldhorn Fafner  

Posted: October 10th, 2020 4:26 PM

Two bicyclists were side by side blocking the entry lane for a slow street so a car could not enter crossing the street so it turned. If the cyclists had lines up there was plenty of room for the car to enter the street and the cyclists just stood there not moving. Asked why they didn't line up they said "it is a slow street for bicycles and walking. SOLUTION -- widen the sidewalks so cars can drive there. Let the pedestrians and bicyclists be in the slow streets and the cars can drive on the sidewalks.

Bill Maxwell  

Posted: October 10th, 2020 12:52 PM

I like the slow street program because it is so much fun to notice dysfunction in the system. I was traveling North bound on possibly Harvey, and there was a car in front. There was a do not enter sign so the car turned left. Now it was my turn and I turned left and a truck approached facing Eastbound. The first car that turned left could not pass the truck and now I am behind the first car and we are both just sitting there until the truck decided to move a little to let the first car through because there was a barricade blocking an otherwise open street. Who ever comes up with these ideas do not work them out for possible problems. The barricades will probably be removed before snow plowing begins so the streets will useable again

Lisa Buelterman Kitzman  

Posted: October 10th, 2020 8:58 AM

I walk with two friends almost every day and we frequently walk on the street to social distance. Theoretically, the slow streets program could be helpful but the reality is that it is worthless. Just last week we had a driver honk his horn repeatedly because we were in the street and then yell at us for being in the street as he drove past. When we tried to point out that the road was closed and he was in the wrong, he insisted the signs said otherwise. He was not "local traffic". It wasn't the first time this has happened. Driver's don't understand the signs and/or ignore them. This is yet another example of an Oak Park "feel good" program that accomplishes nothing.

Anna Szczepaniak Harlan from Oak Park  

Posted: October 10th, 2020 7:02 AM

Let me preface by saying I am not opposed to increasing outdoor (walking and biking in the Village!), but Carpenter Ave not the place for this program. It is one of the most narrow streets in the Village ~ with parking on both sides of the street, the South end of the block is almost always narrowed down to a single lane. We have no alley for residents on the E side so all East side residents need to pull out of their driveways into the street. We have 1 apartment bldg on the 700 block in which residents have nowhere to park & several more apartments bldgs without parking on the 800 block. These blocks are also right on the elbow curve of Jackson so drivers use the 700 block of Carpenter to get around to Grove since there is no North entry to Grove off Jackson. I am VERY STRONGLY opposed to having the Slow Streets Program on my street. MY STREET IS 4 BLOCKS LONG and has been disproportionately impacted by EVERY parking & biking change in the Village! Starting with removal of the overnight parking ban to the Madison Street Diet and Jackson bike lane with the crazy bump outs and now this Slow Streets Program. Since it's implementation I (and other neighbors) have been yelled at by Slow street walkers for traveling on our block, had to call the the police due to a biker/car aggressive confrontation and held my breath as I have watched children perilously cross Jackson at an intersection with no Stop Sign. PLEASE take this off my block and put it somewhere safer and more suitable!

David Yamashita from Oak Park  

Posted: October 2nd, 2020 11:03 AM

I am happy that Bill Peterman and the residents of the southside of OP are seeing the possible benefits. Perhaps your drivers are more intuitive in their understanding of the signage and ultimate purpose of the limited barriers. I, like Mark Ruehl, have not seen any dramatic change in driver behavior, or similar pedestrian and youth benefits as VB St. One errant driver disaster will bring this to a bad end. Hopefully not!

Mark Ruehl  

Posted: October 2nd, 2020 10:48 AM

I disagree. The partial barriers on the "slow street" are unsightly and have accomplished nothing. I frequently take walks on the sidewalks, which works just fine, and still look both ways before crossing a street. The barriers also create a lot of confusion for drivers. One elderly friend of mine who came to visit me mistook the barriers on Thomas for construction or road closure, detoured, and ended up lost in Austin. Please get rid of them before the snow falls, and hopefully permanently.

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