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This spring’s warm weather and lots of rain have spurred flourishing greenery in town, but some of it is impairing traffic safety, said a resident of the 1000 block of South Elgin Avenue, who complained that planters on Harvard Avenue were obscuring traffic until village gardeners trimmed them over the weekend.

“The prairie grass in the planter and the large rose bushes [were] about 5 feet tall. They’re pretty but terribly unsafe,” said neighbor Robert Wright, who added that he’s heard about three accidents and “a near miss” near the intersection of Elgin and Harvard.

Wright heard the crashing sounds of an accident, May 30 around 2 p.m. and snapped a photo of a Toyota Corolla that ended up on the planter.

Wright says visibility was blocked for drivers heading southbound on Elgin and eastbound on Harvard. “It’s like jungle grass. You could put a lion in this thing and you couldn’t see it. The planter is about 40 feet long. It’s huge.”

He and his wife contacted the village last year when plants grew out of control, but this spring plants are growing even quicker.

“These plants are 5 feet tall, taller than a regular-sized car. Small children [crossing the street] are invisible. That’s what I’m worried about,” said Wright, “especially pulling out of the alley.”

The planters were installed during Harvard Avenue sewer repairs and are part of the village’s plan to beautify streets with landscaping and pedestrian-friendly curb cuts, said Village Administrator Tim Gillian, who checked the planter Friday and had workers cut the vegetation down to size.

“I wish people would call me first, instead of the paper,” he joked, adding that the village arborists and landscape personnel would keep better track of public vegetation as it grows faster this summer.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...