Surveys will go out soon, as early as this week, to residents on five blocks in North Riverside to gauge interest in making the avenues one-way for drivers.
Village Administrator Guy Belmonte said he is putting the survey together and will mail it out as soon as possible. The Alleys, Sidewalks and Garbage Committee will likely meet June 27 to discuss the results of the survey. The committee meeting will be set at the village board meeting on June 21.
The inquiry is based on the successful street diversions during the Halloween season. The village separated the avenues into one way streets during the Freaky Frights on Forest (on the 2300 block), a scary display by residents that attracts thousands of people and vehicles before and during prime trick-or-treat time.
He said extensive controls were used in the area on Halloween to keep traffic in check, such as “Do Not Enter” sawhorses, signage directing traffic and parking locations and volunteers on hand to assist in parking issues.
“This area has 40-foot lots on smaller, narrower streets,” said Trustee Randall Czajka, who also serves on the streets committee. “There can be a lot of traffic, especially during the Halloween time. We want children to be safe.”
The area under consideration includes the five north/south streets east of Desplaines Avenue, west of North Riverside Mall and south of Cermak, including Keystone, Forest, Park, Westover and Burr Oak. Hainsworth Avenue would likely need to stay two-way, Czajka said. Parking is mainly done through wide alleys.
The village has been pondering a while whether to make the streets one-way permanently, said Belmonte.
“We want to see if the residents feel it would be a good idea,” Belmonte said. “We’ll get an idea when we get the surveys back.”
Generally, a resident will petition the village to make such a traffic change, said Tim Kutt, the village’s public works director. He said he hadn’t heard about the survey, and said it’s not common for the village to change street directions.
“Well, usually these things need unanimous approval. As long as it would not interfere with emergency services or snowplows, and everybody wants it, it should happen,” Kutt said.