In an otherwise uneventful meeting of the Riverside Village Board last week, President Ben Sells asked if there was any new business — there usually isn’t — and as people were thinking, “Oh, well, at least they sold some property tonight,” Trustee Joseph Ballerine mentioned cul-de-sacs.
You could say it took everyone by surprise. Ballerine said he’d been getting some phone calls and emails from residents in the wake of a spree of daytime home break-ins and a particularly odd and scary incident in which a man armed with an ice pick sought out a man he believed to be some sort of Freemason high priest who was doing his part to control the world.
Man, the Internet is great, but it sure leads to a lot of that kind of stuff.
Anyway, during Ballerine’s conversations with residents, limiting access to the village by erecting cul-de-sacs along Harlem Avenue was floated as a possible solution. The village board, of course, was in no position to talk about the idea — for one, it wasn’t on the agenda, and two, it caught everyone off guard.
Although, Trustee Doug Pollock felt the idea had some merit and suggested that if the village were to employ cul-de-sacs along Harlem Avenue in the future, it could combine that effort with placing surveillance cameras at the Harlem Avenue entrances that remained, which could aid police in tracking down these people who are coming to town and breaking into houses.
The village board is expected to take up the subject, perhaps at its next board meeting. It’ll be mighty interesting to hear what everyone else thinks of this plan.
Apart from the fact that placing cul-de-sacs will also limit access to the village for residents who live along the east side of Riverside, it will limit access for visitors to Riverside as well. We were under the impression that the village wanted more visitors coming to town — to enjoy its events and patronize its businesses.
While it might not make much difference to Riversiders, the message a line of cul-de-sacs along Harlem Avenue would send to everyone else is: stay out. Now that may very well be the message some people would like to send, but we’re not so sure it’s in the Chamber of Commerce’s plan for the future.
Beyond that, the notion that cul-de-sacs will somehow prevent crime seems questionable. Oak Park has a line of cul-de-sacs along Austin Boulevard. Berwyn has a line of cul-de-sacs along Roosevelt Road.
Apart from having the effect of backing up traffic during rush hour on Austin Boulevard and Roosevelt Road, they don’t seem to have prevented criminals from entering those towns and burglarizing garages, holding people up and stealing bicycles from yards.
Don’t forget the icepick guy walked into Riverside. A cul-de-sac wasn’t stopping him.
Is Fortress Riverside really what people want?