The North Riverside Board of Trustees has approved a new law to create one-way streets, temporarily, during the Halloween season in one section of the village.
The village had been considering making one-way travel on the streets permanent, but a survey of the neighborhood found strong opposition to the plan. Instead, the board approved the temporary closings ordinance at its meeting Aug. 15.
The streets are four north/south avenues between Desplaines Avenue and North Riverside Park Mall south of Cermak Road, including Forest Avenue, Park Avenue, Westover Avenue and Burr Oak Avenue. The street closures will be in effect from Oct. 15 to Nov. 2.
Forest and Westover will serve northbound traffic only, while Park and Burr Oak will offer southbound traffic only.
The village’s Alleys, Sidewalks and Garbage Committee sent out a survey in mid-June to ask residents whether the streets should become one-way permanently, as they were temporarily last year during the popular Halloween visits to the Freaky Frights on Forest displays.
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 Village Trustee Randall Czajka, who also serves on the committee. “There can be a lot of traffic, especially during the Halloween time. We want children to be safe.”
Earlier this year, the Department of Public Works placed speed bumps in key locations, such as the intersection of Traube and Park, to slow traffic.
However, the survey results showed that the residents want to drive both ways on their streets.
“This does tend to make us look like Mayberry, and it does seem to be an inconvenience for the neighborhood. But I think everyone enjoys the Halloween event,” Czajka said.
He said the committee will work with the residents of the area to come up with less imposing traffic calming techniques. The speed bumps will be removed, he said.