Time to enforce rules for bike riders
I just read the letter and opinion in the Aug. 31 Landmark about the tragic death of Patricia Quane, killed by a Metra train at the Longcommon Road Metra crossing in Riverside. After reading them, I then read the Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Road, issued by the Illinois Secretary of States Office.
Ms. Quane’s death was a tragedy, to be sure, and undoubtedly would have been prevented if she had heeded the train crossing warning lights, bells and gates. Yet to this day I still encounter bicyclists on our streets who routinely ignore even the most straightforward traffic rules.
I cannot understand why bicyclists feel they can ignore traffic signals when they ride their bikes. Stopping at stop signs and traffic lights is probably the most blatant disregard for rules of the road, as well as the dumbest.
A prime example is Woodside Avenue in Brookfield which has become a bicyclists raceway since the street was “improved” for traffic flow. On weekend mornings, one has to be careful in their car, as well as on foot, as the groups of bicyclists race around the corners, blowing the stop sign.
One morning as we turned onto Golf Avenue from Washington in our car, we were cut-off by a bicyclist who made a left turn onto Golf from Ridgewood using the eastbound turn lane from Golf.
Avoiding hitting him, we honked at him, which irritated him, so he started circling our car, telling us what he thought in rather profane language. And he said he had the right of way! I understand that the City of Chicago is going to start to enforce the rules of the road for bicyclists (although why they aren’t already doing so is amazing).
I think it’s time for all municipalities to start enforcing the bicycle rules of the road. Hopefully this may help prevent any more tragic bicycle/car/train accidents. The Illinois Bicycle Rules of the Roads can be accessed easily online at the Illinois Secretary of State Web site.
Concrete? Asphalt? Take a guess
I am back on the Brookfield village board again. I guess I am going to have to keep doing it until I get it right. One of the things that I want to get right is to achieve an understanding as to what the “rules” are regarding who gets an asphalt street and who gets a concrete street when streets are repaved. This question has puzzled me since I first was elected to the board in 1991.
I have asked the question and I have received some interesting, if unrevealing answers. Early on, I realized that concrete streets cost a little more and last a lot longer than asphalt. In 1991, Brookfield had a paving program doing a couple of blocks of street each year, so I asked, “Why not pave next year’s street in concrete?” Answer: “By doing that, we would be cheating the folks who got asphalt this year.”
Question: “McCormick Avenue is concrete and due to be repaved soon. How about if the residents agree to pay the difference between asphalt and concrete? Can they repave in concrete?” Answer: No, for the same reason as above.
Soon after I left the board, the 3500 block of Vernon Avenue came up. These residents wanted one new street at once. They were willing to pay for total replacement of the failing 80-year-old sewer, for new curbs and for a new concrete street.
Their request disappeared into village hall, was referred to the engineers and came out as the four-block Special Service Area No. 7 with no new sewers except those needing replacement, new curbs further apart than before and a sheet of asphalt over the old concrete.
I went to village board meetings. I asked, “Are you going to give these people what they are willing to pay for?” Answer: A scowl.
Question: “Are you going to bid the project both ways and let them choose?” Answer: A harrumph and a scowl.
Who made the decisions resulting in SSA No. 7? A village manager in Brookfield? An engineer in Westchester? A lawyer in Berwyn? IDOT in Chicago? A lobbyist in Springfield? I do not know “who” but have figured out “how” and still wonder “why.”
To answer “how does this work?” I have researched Brookfield street projects for the past 20 years. I asked myself such questions as: Why is Vernon repaved in asphalt while Grant is repaved in concrete? Why was Grove Avenue repaved in concrete 20 years ago and repaved again today in asphalt?
Prime example question: Why is Southview Avenue east of Salt Creek paved in asphalt even though it is the width of an alley while, west of Salt Creek, Southview is repaved in concrete?
Answer: East of Salt Creek, Southview may look like an alley, but it was “named” a street receiving a new surface so, by rule, it must be asphalt. West of Salt Creek (both east of Johnson’s Funeral Home in the 1980s and west of Johnson’s in 2001) Southview was only a half-width street project on a full-width concrete street. Therefore, it can repaved in concrete?!
What I have found is not a written rule. All of this seems to be a verbal understanding.
? C.P. Hall is a Brookfield village trustee.