Annoyed that you can’t turn into Riverside on Lionel Road from Ogden Avenue during the morning and evening rush hours?
Be annoyed no longer.
The Riverside Police Department on June 15 began a five-month trial allowing turns at all times onto Lionel Road after residents in that area asked the village’s Safe Environment Commission to lift the restriction.
In May, 48 residents submitted a petition to the commission, saying the turn restriction “unnecessarily inconvenienced” residents who live in the southeast corner of Riverside.
“Residents are forced to make left turns from heavily congested Harlem Ave. to either Blackhawk or Olmsted in order to reach their homes,” the petition, which was considered by the Safe Environment Commission on May 24, stated.
According to Police Chief Thomas Weitzel, the rush-hour turn restriction at Lionel Road has been in place for more than a decade. The restriction was implemented in response to residents who, at that time, complained that their street was being used as a cut-through after Miller Road was made a one-way street heading south, out of the village.
In their petition, residents asked that police ticket non-residents turning onto Lionel Road during rush hour while giving residents a pass. But Weitzel pointed out that such an arrangement would constitute illegal profiling and would not support such an arrangement.
“This is a traffic/moving violation and we simply cannot discriminate against residents versus non-residents when issuing tickets for moving violations,” Weitzel wrote in a memo to the Safe Environment Commission in May.
Residents remained in favor of eliminating the restriction even after Weitzel rejected distinguishing between residents and non-residents. As a result, the no-turn signs will be taken down as of Friday and won’t enforce the ordinance that remains on the books.
The trial period will run through Nov. 15, said Weitzel, at which time the commission could recommend that the signs go back up or that the no-turn ordinance be rescinded. The village board would be tasked with voting on whether the ordinance should be overturned.
“I will monitor the complaints that come in from area residents on increased traffic volume, if any,” said Weitzel. “In November, I will report to the Safe Environment Commission as to the results of this trial period and ask them to make a final recommendation to the Board of Trustees.”