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Proposal highlights one pedestrian’s plight

I was somewhere between aggravated and incensed when reading of the plan to eliminate the traffic light at Circle and Madison as suggested by Commissioner Mark Hosty. One of the things your article pointed out was that Mr. Hosty has not studied the traffic patterns of Circle and Madison, and that he is basing his decision on a tour of a Chicago intersection he apparently did several years ago.

Apparently, Mr. Hosty is also quite selective in his attention to details concerning the feelings of Forest Park residents in general.

I bring up as a case and point, the failed Roos project of several years ago. In July of 2003, the village of Forest Park was presented with a petition of more than 600 signatures, which stated opposition to this project. In meeting after meeting conducted both by the village council and the planning commission, one of the main concerns was the effect an additional 200 cars would have on traffic at Circle and Harrison, particularly during rush hour. Why bring this up? In case Mr. Hosty doesn’t remember, or in case he is unaware, Circle and Harrison has the same type of four-way stop Mr. Hosty has proposed for Circle and Madison.

I have not studied traffic patterns at either of the above mentioned intersections, but as a commuter who has had to deal quite often with Circle and Harrison during rush hour, I can tell you that I have experienced plenty of indecisiveness of my own, as well as from other drivers when it comes to my crossing Circle Avenue. As a blind traveler, it has made little difference whether I have used a cane or a dog. I have had to compensate many times for drivers who have not known what to do when I have approached this intersection, and I know many drivers have become frustrated over my inability to decide when it was safe to cross.

As Circle and Madison as an intersection is blessed with many more pedestrians and much more automobile traffic, the situation I described above can only be magnified.

The elimination of the stop light at Circle and Madison can only increase congestion and trauma for both drivers and pedestrians.

Sometimes, it is best to leave well enough alone. This is one of those times.

David Meyer
Forest Park

Bias deserves rebuttal

The recent onslaught of negative articles and letters in this Oak Park based newspaper cause me to feel that a rebuttal is due.

First, let me address the letter to the editor from Mary Kay Minaghan, (“Indignant and tardy,” March 5). While I believe that when someone enters into the political arena a person is setting themselves up for harsher criticism, I can’t help but feel Ms. Minaghan may be making this personal. As a founder of Citizens United for Forest Park and failed campaign manager for Terry Steinbach, I have disagreed with her on many issues. This week she has taken my business dealing unfairly and inaccurately to task.

Let’s get the record straight. Last December when the tax bills came out the taxes for 7321 Madison St., which I have a partnership interest in, were a total of $87,796.08. Not just the amount she stated as $27,083.99. The portion that was paid late was due to a tenant who had outside real estate investments that affected his ability to meet his tax participation obligations in a timely manner. As a result a portion of the taxes were paid late with an interest penalty of $850.54. The taxes on this building are hard to plan for since they have gone up by over $53,000 in two years.

The taxes that were due on March 4, 2008, were paid on March 4, 2008, in full. I find it strange that the Review did not note that the letter was received before the due date.

While searching the web I found some interesting facts. Ms. Minaghan paid $7,157.57 in property tax on her home (8 percent of the taxes on my building,) but in 2004 she claimed homeowners’ exemption on two properties. I also found that she is a lobbyist in Chicago and Cook County. I can’t help but wonder if her lobbying for the special interests of her clients’ may have added to the need to raise the county taxes.

Now on to my second rant. The reporting in this paper seems to be getting more slanted by the week. They seem to take the position that Oak Park is better than Forest Park in all ways. The articles on Circle Theatre were all written from the perspective of what a great thing losing Circle is for Oak Park.

Two weeks ago the cover story was about a new store in Oak Park – when was the last time they featured a Forest Park business on the cover?

Have you read the police reports lately? When did they start listing places of employment in the arrest records, or is that only when they can take a shot at a Forest Park business owner?

The coverage about switching the light at Circle and Madison to a stop sign was so one sided I feel the only way to set the record straight is through this letter. I find it completely ridiculous to ask the traffic engineer for Oak Park his opinion on Forest Park traffic. Is he the one who comes up with great traffic flow ideas for Oak Park? Just try getting through that town. If the intersections of Washington and Marion, Randolph and Oak Park Avenue and Euclid and Washington are examples of his genius, I think he can keep his ideas on his side of Harlem.

A year and a half ago Village Administrator Mike Sturino took the elected officials and department heads on a field trip to Chicago to see how one ward has been using different traffic calming methods to make the neighborhood safe for pedestrians, as well as streamline the flow of traffic. One thing that stood out from the presentation was that statistically, green lights cause drivers to speed up. Since being appointed to the position of streets and public improvements commissioner last year I have been working to make Madison Street safer for pedestrians, and to slow traffic. My concern is not to see how fast someone can cut through our town but to make it safe to be in our town. If someone is inconvenienced by slower traffic maybe they will use the Eisenhower instead.

For the record, I spoke with the managing editor, Josh Adams, on the phone for 25 minutes and gave him details on this pilot program that for some reason he did not see fit to add to yet another “Oak Park is better than Forest Park” story. In the editorial he, or Dan Haley (unlike the letters, they don’t identify who actually writes the editorial) again criticized the commission form of government. For some reason they feel that the utopian form of government in Oak Park that kills everything by committee is better. I was elected to serve in the commission form and will do so proudly no matter what the Oak Park Review, I mean Forest Park Review says.

Commissioner Mark S. Hosty,
Streets and Public Improvements
Forest Park

Editor’s note: The Feb. 27 front-page story on the opening of a business in Oak Park received coverage in this newspaper because the proprietor is a resident of Forest Park. A Feb. 13 front-page story on the impact of Valentine’s Day on the retail sector featured four Forest Park businesses.

A light for the blind

I am a totally blind resident of Forest Park who crosses this intersection to get to work and back (“Busy intersection to lose traffic light for 4-way stop,” March 5). I can cross it independently because of the traffic light, since I can tell the difference between parallel and perpendicular traffic. Madison and Circle is busy enough as it is with a traffic light. Changing it to a stop sign will only make things worse, as it will be difficult for me to tell when it’s the right time to cross.

Let me reiterate that always having sighted assistance available to cross at this intersection is not the answer. It would be like if you had to wait in your car until someone came along and told you it was okay to go. I have to do that very thing at Randolph and Marengo, and many times I’ve had to wait 20 minutes or more to get assistance. I am very disappointed in the village of Forest Park that they would even think of taking away something so valuable as a traffic light from an intersection.

Leslie Hamric
Forest Park

One lousy idea

I am a resident of the 400 block of Circle Avenue and this is the craziest, dumbest move you can possibly make (“Busy intersection to lose traffic light for 4-way stop,” March 5). This is insane! Traffic will be so backed up! I can’t believe anyone would agree to this!

Marie Spence
Forest Park

Dangerous crossing

This has got to be one of the most hair brained ideas I have ever seen the Forest Park village council give its approval to try (“Busy intersection to lose traffic light for 4-way stop,” March 5).

Has Mr. Hosty ever tried to cross the street where there is a four-way stop sign? Well I do every single day, and I have got to tell you it is dangerous. I cross at Harrison and Circle. I have almost been hit by people being in a huge rush or just not paying attention to their driving more times than I can count.

I guess Hosty figures that when someone gets hit by a car and dies they’ll have the services at the funeral home next to his bar, and that’s more revenue for him!

I just can’t believe the council is going along with this.

Pamela Fontana
Forest Park

Do I get the job?

Let me see if I qualify to be on the council. First, we make a 30 day trial change in traffic operations. Then, only afterwards, we do a study. Then, within that 30 day interim, a blind lady, whose ADA rights have been suspended, gets hit by a car. She sues the village. The village goes further into debt with legal fees. And then, we council members whine: “The only reason we’re into so much debt is that these people keep suing us.” Is that it? Can I now run for one of those positions?

Mike Newton
Forest Park

Without further review

As a new resident of Forest Park and a former resident of Oak Park I am astounded that anyone would propose such a drastic change in traffic control at Madison and Circle without guidance from a professionally done traffic survey and, ideally, a set of simulations. I must also state that although I may not agree with his goals in all cases, Jim Budrick does know what he is talking about through his education and years of experience. He should be respected and listened to.

Regarding the proposal: What is the issue that is being addressed? The backup of eastbound traffic on Madison is caused by the light timing at Harlem and Madison. It is controlled by IDOT. It is most likely the root cause of this problem, not a traffic light at Madison and Wisconsin (there is no light at Maple). There are various ways to address this problem but it will never be “solved” with the current traffic volume. Have a professional study done and implement the changes suggested. And don’t forget the pedestrians.

Ted Despotes
Forest Park

 

Plan warrants study


A guided tour in the city of Chicago from last year is not enough to hold a trial period for conversion (“Green light turns yellow for proposal at Madison and Circle,” web extra, March 7). It makes sense to have a traffic study performed by a third party, who will provide an objective assessment with data to back it up. Let’s do it right.


Bill Gerst

Forest Park

 

Keep the traffic light


I was appalled when I read your e-mail alert about doing away with the stop light at
Madison and Circle. There is a chronic problem in Forest Park of motorists running stop signs (Circle-Harvard, Circle-Jackson, Beloit-Harvard to name a few). This is a terrible idea! What is the village thinking?


Madeleine Holdsworth

Forest Park

 

Just a bad idea


I think the idea of stop signs vs. lights at that intersection is an accident and more traffic waiting to happen (“Green light turns yellow for proposal at Madison and Circle,” web extra, March 7). Circle and
Jackson is bad enough – but double that at Circle and Madison, with cars making left hand turns and maybe an ambulance or other vehicle needing to pass through – is abominable. Bad idea Mark!


Nancy Bower

Forest Park