Business owners in Forest Park are gnashing their teeth at news of a marketing effort in neighboring Oak Park. And they should be.
Wednesday Journal, the Review’s sibling publication in Oak Park and River Forest, reported this month that municipal officials in the village’s neighbor to the east are trying to persuade the Chicago Transit Authority to sell the naming rights for the Green Line station at Harlem and Lake. Naturally, Oak Parkers would like to call it “Downtown Oak Park.”
The station at Harlem and Lake is already appropriately named and should not be tinkered with.
It’s understandable that Oak Park would like to promote its bottom line, but the CTA should not go down this path. The purpose of public transportation is to help commuters get where they need to be. It is not the CTA’s job to sell whatever trinkets are being pushed in Oak Park.
If Oak Park is allowed to sponsor a Green Line station (the deal most certainly involves cash) what’s preventing the CTA from selling sponsorship rights to any of its stations? We could wipe the slate clean and print new maps telling commuters how to reach Pepsi station or Starbucks stations 1-5. Sound ridiculous? It is.
The last stop on the Green Line sits at the corner of three villages. It would be a disservice to commuters telling them they are in “downtown” anything when in fact they are not. It would also be an overreaching and unfair move on the part of Oak Park to elbow both Forest Park and River Forest out of the picture.