While an application to construct a bike/pedestrian under/overpass at First and Forest avenues in Riverside has been shot down by a regional planning agency, we would still encourage village officials to continue to support the efforts of a group of local residents to push for such a solution.

Even though CMAP denied Riverside’s application for federal funding of the bridge, we don’t think this is a deal-breaker. Looking at the projects that made the cut, we see no reason why Riverside’s might not fit the bill in the future.

It’s also encouraging – even if officials are mum about it – that the Chicago Zoological Society appears interested in backing a plan to extend the salt Creek Bike Trail south through the western edge of the zoo/forest preserve property along Salt Creek.

Not only is the potential route the most appropriate since it continues along the river, it is also a much safer alternative than funneling pedestrians and cyclists down 31st Street to First Avenue and then south along busy First Avenue – not exactly a great route for communing with nature.

This is going to take years of planning and many more grant attempts for any of this to become reality. But it will be key for institutions like the zoo and government entities like Riverside, Brookfield and school districts 208 and 96 to continue to lend their support.

First and Forest is dangerous. Making it safer in the future only makes sense.

Conceal and carry

Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-8th) held a community forum on the West Side two weeks ago on the hot-button topic of “conceal and carry.” We reported that more than 200 people turned out, and the West Side audience was decidedly in favor of Illinois changing its laws to allow citizens to arm themselves in the normal course of a day’s activities.

Ford has since said that he will now have to reconsider his stance on the issue, because of the overwhelming support it received in the one forum.

Our suggestion to Ford, who is one of our favorite local legislators, is that he hold a second forum on the same topic but that he shift the location to the other side of Austin Boulevard. If suburbanites could organize to keep the NRA from packing the crowd (yes, we have our suspicions) then we expect the representative would get a different earful on this subject.

Yes, the momentum is all on the side of the NRA and its Supreme Court backers at this moment. It doesn’t make them right. It just makes them the majority of the moment.

Guns kill people. Often innocent people. Often young people without a clue or a path. Adding more gun mayhem to our society is the wrong path and will add more pain to more lives.

Rep. Ford should listen to the message everyone would send before he settles this issue in his mind.