Tight spot: Lake and Euclid loses three parking spots

Oak Park removes three spots on the east side of Euclid Ave. and north of Lake St.

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

To promote better traffic flow, Oak Park's village board voted Feb. 18 to concur with the Transportation Commission's recommendation to remove the first three parking spots on the east side of Euclid Avenue just north of Lake Street.

"It's just tight out there," said Village Engineer Bill McKenna. "By removing those on-street spaces, it opens the intersection up a little more, allows traffic to get out of the intersection and into Euclid without conflicting with any kind of southbound traffic right at the intersection."

Village Manager Cara Pavlicek added there are significant pedestrian conflicts when intersections gridlock. Kids cross the intersection to get to Oak Park and River Forest High School in the mornings, which is when a lot of traffic incidents occur.

"There's a pedestrian safety aspect of this, too," she said.

Trustee Simone Boutet, who lives in that neighborhood, understands the problem but said she also sees the same problem at other Oak Park intersections. 

"My concern is we have a new business, we're going to be tearing up Lake Street and we're going to be banning plastic and we're going to be taking away their parking," Boutet said.

"We haven't banned plastic," corrected Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb.

"I know," said Boutet. "But I think we have to have a better overall plan for this instead of saying, 'Let's do this now and plan for it later,' because we're doing a lot that's going to impact the businesses and the residents in this area."

Boutet suggested having a more comprehensive plan for replacing the parking before voting to remove it.

Trustee Arti Walker-Peddakotla said she was concerned about parking since the on-street spots on Lake Street will be removed during the upcoming street renovation project.

"Where are people going to park? Because we still want people going to our small businesses," she said.

While Walker-Peddakotla understood the necessity of removing those spaces, calling the area "effectively a pinch point," she asked McKenna if he could add parking spots somewhere else close by.

"Should the board approve the removal of those spaces, staff would be looking for opportunities to add back those on-street spaces," McKenna said.

The village engineer said staff would look for spaces either on Euclid Avenue north of that area or look at restrictions on Lake Street in that immediate area.

"We do have the Avenue Garage there," said Trustee Jim Taglia, of the village parking garage on North Boulevard just east of Oak Park Avenue.

According to Taglia, the fire department has concerns about getting their equipment through the Lake and Euclid intersection due to the tightness of the space.

"I'm fine with taking them away, but the thing that concerns me is that I can see people double-parking there," he said.

Trustee Deno Andrews said he would support taking the three spots away if the rest of the street wasn't permit parking during the day, as it is currently.

"I don't think I can support taking parking away during this time," he said.

When asked for her opinion by Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb, Trustee Susan Buchanan said, "I'm happy to vote to get rid of these parking spaces and trust that Bill will find three spaces somewhere else."

In a 5-2 vote, with Andrews and Boutet in the opposition, the board decided to allow for the removal of the three spots, which will become a "No Parking Anytime Zone."

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Reader Comments

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Jeff Schroeder from Oak Park  

Posted: February 24th, 2020 8:20 AM

I would second Robyn's comments. For North and South bound traffic on Euclid, that light at Lake Street is a killer. And this street is the best alternative to the more child busy intersection at East Avenue.

Robyn Kaplan Seidman  

Posted: February 21st, 2020 5:44 PM

As an Oak Park resident who walks both north and south across the intersection of Lake and Euclid at least twice daily, the timing of the traffic lights also add to the problems. When facing Euclid the green light is much shorter than when it is green facing Lake. I am a brisk walker and sometimes it is hard to make it across Lake at Euclid before the light turns yellow then to red. On the other hand, when the green light is facing Lake, there is often extra time when there are no cars coming in either direction. This encourages pedestrians to cross when the light is still red. In addition, the traffic light at Euclid and Lake does not coordinate well with the traffic light at Lake and Oak Park so sometimes cars heading west on Lake from east of Euclid end up stopped in the middle of the intersection when the light changes. Dangerous for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike. Working on the traffic flow at the intersection in general would be helpful as the area has gotten busier in many ways.

Don McLean  

Posted: February 21st, 2020 5:02 PM

Finally... thank you!

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